1665176739 Battle against the language of wood Free Languages ​​

Long live the average bear! |

I wanted to get back to my column last Sunday, in which I addressed the issue of insults and intimidation that originated in school playgrounds and are still coming out of the mouths of certain adult characters decades later.

Posted at 7:15am


I wanted to come back not to talk about these “characters” but to appreciate the open-mindedness of Quebecers, whom we rarely talk about because too often it is swallowed up by intolerance, racism or homophobia.

I have felt this openness in the hundreds of emails you have sent me over the past few days. Before I continue, I would like to apologize to those who took the time to write to me. I gave up the idea of ​​replying to you because that would have taken up a good chunk of my week.

Know that I have read each of your emails. Some shocked me, others made me smile. But all offered me a portrait of a society that has come a long way and made huge strides in just a few years.

What struck me was that this column about homophobic slurs brought me messages from all walks of life: young people, older people, parents, grandparents, gay and straight people.

In fact, I understood that you received this column as a balm for intolerance or rejection experienced for all sorts of reasons. The differences are easy to find in schoolyards. All it takes is a slight build, red hair, overweight, a language problem or “feminine mannerisms”.

“A guy had the ‘brilliant’ idea of ​​calling me ‘Guénette la fag’ because the two rhymed,” says Jacques Guénette. It was an insult that hurt me and robbed me of my true personality. I was attracted to girls, not boys […] This situation played a big part in my morale for many months. When I started having blondes, the rumor died down. But to this day, the word “fag” still gives me a burning sensation in my stomach. 70 years ago, Jean-Paul attended a primary school in a small provincial town. “I was unlucky to be top of the class. That was enough for the little Rambos back then to adorn me with nicknames like “fag” and “fifi”. Also, I’ve never understood why the fools would use those terms on those who were successful in the classroom. »

Many of you have been changed by a tragic experience affecting a brother, a friend, an uncle, a cousin.

“In September 1974, my brother took the leap from the top of the YMCA,” says Pierre. He endured the humiliations that the fat guys in the area had in their repertoire. After all these years, I still miss my older brother. »

This reader adds that his brother quoted the song As They Say by Charles Aznavour in his suicide note.

Charles Caza has the horrific memory of a boy he knew 50 years ago. “He fled into the forest because he was fed up with himself. He never came back. The one who was the “troublemaker” was beaten up a few weeks later for deciding to attack someone else. It was the end of his reign. »

A reader remembers an uncle who left with his secret. “He was unhappy all his life due to a forced marriage. I loved this warm and funny man. It was a party when he visited us. He hid this “blemish” all his life. I have received many testimonials from parents and grandparents. Some have (and still experience) some anxiety for their child or grandchildren who are now gay or trans. But through it I found a lot of happiness and pride.

A mother told me about her trans son who grew up in a town in Saguenay. “He is fortunate to have a character that allows him to move forward in life without fear and without shame. He lives in Montreal and will never move to our area again. »

Some parents spoke of their protective side. “I have a 59-year-old gay son and I’m proud of him. I feel sorry for the person who would dare say stupid words about him. The 81-year-old mother lioness that I am would roar. »

Teachers are the first to witness bullying at school. Many of them expressed their anger at this phenomenon. “I heard insults, that certain students were the object, Gisèle recalls. I resisted every time because I felt so sorry for these children who were being attacked. »

I liked the testimony of Martin Labrie, a teacher who hesitated for a long time before making the transition from primary to secondary school, a universe that evoked bad memories. “At 40, I took the plunge and told myself it was time to face the monster of my past. A few weeks after my arrival, my manager asked me what I would like to bring to my workplace. I said I wanted to be out there, myself in front of the students. I did it the same day. »

In this column I said that the lump in the stomach that some had in childhood can easily reappear.

“I’m 54 and the ‘T’ word still hurts me. Even though I’ve made my way, sometimes I go back 40 years. This era clearly shaped my life and the way I was. And somehow I’m still suffering the consequences. »

For Élise, who is a lesbian, it’s different. ” Thank you ! It made me realize that the bullet I had in my stomach is gone, that I am strong and that I love myself. »

As I said earlier in this column, several messages have come from heterosexuals. It especially warmed my heart. “I belong to the heterosexual group,” writes Luc. This is not of great importance in my remarks, if only to say that I can imagine what stigmatized people have suffered or have suffered in the past and unfortunately still in 2023. I have a heavy heart and tears in my eyes. »

And then there’s Jacques, who wrote to me: “I’m just a straight guy who’s your average bear and sometimes talks bullshit. This column opened my eyes. »

It seems that when a wolf and a bear meet, most of the time the wolf gives up.

To those who are part of the average bear, thank you for being there!

Do you need help ?

If you need assistance, are having suicidal thoughts, or are concerned about someone close to you, call 1 866 APPELLES (1 866 277-3553). A suicide prevention worker is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.