Dearest Reader,

          In a year where so much has happened in my life, you might think that I should feel like I’ve come a long way, and in some respects, I guess I do. But, to be honest, the feeling that seems to have overwhelmed me since Easter, is anything but satisfaction.

        Maybe my expectations were set too high after all the years of living a life of quiet desperation. Always hoping that somehow I was making a difference, even though my life seemed impossibly complex. Layer after layer of equivocation in an effort to protect myself and those who I thought loved me.

       So, with Easter fast approaching, I made the decision to stop the nonsense for once and all. I wrote the letter to my family and braced myself. Forty- six years is a long time to carry a burden like that.

That was a hard thing to do. I took a real ‘leap of faith,’ and did it in a way that couldn’t be undone, purposely. The way I’ve done most important things in my life. The reason I guess my youngest brother now considers me to be ‘arrogant and  intolerant’.

          I still haven’t been able to wrap my mind around that. It saddens me greatly.

      About a week and a half ago, as I was writing my last remembrance, the sadness became oppressive. I didn’t tell anyone, because everyone has their own problems and this melancholy was making me feel… I don’t know… selfish or something. Childish, maybe.

         I implied it in emails to my Godson, and he surprised me with a wonderful get- together that made me smile for the first time in weeks, I think. And, I was also sending emails back and forth to a young guy across the ‘Pond’, who has become a real ‘rock’ for me, even at his tender age.  Just reading the comforting things he wrote made a big difference to me.

       But somehow, the sadness returned. It’s hard to describe, but I felt… gutted. Like everything that I had achieved in my life was an illusion. That I was nothing and never had been anything. That my attempts to lead had been in vain, and the hope that I constantly advised  to others was a lie.

     I was pretty low at that point. So, I stopped commenting on most blogs and spent a lot of time trying to seem normal to the people around me who still need my strength, even if they probably wish I never sent that letter. And wondered if I would ever feel some joy again.

      And then I got the email… From that special young man with the heart of a warrior. It was a reminder of sorts. Nonchalant in reality. A followup to our previous emails about the issue of bullying… Something he is ALL too familiar with, having been the target of the most insidious form- hateful and homophobic cretins in his school who had tried their best to destroy him all year… There were times during the past year where I could hardly type my replies to him, because of the emotion that overwhelmed me. I felt so powerless… Like I was watching the son I will never have be beaten by a sneering crowd while I stood handcuffed by the distance between us.

        But this email was more of a reminder that he hadn’t forgotten our strategy. That one man can make a difference… Something I desperately hoped he had taken to heart. He sent me a draft of a letter that he had written to the principal of his school. It was part of an ongoing effort to leave his school a better place, even if he had been cheated of a safe education. We had talked about the effects of such a letter- the chain of command, and the documentation of his struggle. Creating a digital record. A chain of evidence that would be impossible to deny.

                                      I knew he was serious in his emails to me over the past year, but as the year drew to a close, I started to lose hope that anything could come of it. After all, he had decided to move on to a different school next year, to pursue a vocation that he loves- cooking.

                  But, in typical ‘Davie’ fashion, he nonchalantly sends me the rewrite to see what I thought.

               I can’t begin to describe how proud I felt as I read that letter. To me, it was like the voice of a seasoned litigator, mixed with the passion of a poet and the coolness of a battle- scarred warrior. I hope he doesn’t mind if I publish just a tiny bit of it to show you what I mean….

“I will stop bullying. Someday. And I will not stop until every country on this planet is free from it. No matter what it is for, because it is not right, it must be stopped.

One man can’t change the world. But i’m not one man. I’m everyone. Everyone who hasn’t got a voice. Everyone who fears being shunned for who they are.
Everyone who is too afraid to speak up.

I’m Davie Magill. I’m not one guy. I’m all of you. Everyone reading this. Everyone who has supoorted me. All of my friends, everyone who needs help.

I can’t stop this, you can’t stop this, but together we can and we will stop this.”

Davie Magill

Now, don’t get me wrong. Appropriate punishments were dealt with but, the issues themselves were not. The school to me is not a safe place to be. I hate it. And up until this year I loved school. And i never thought I would but I had friends and I had people who cared.

I abandonned some of those friends. I wasn’t the only one who suffered. My friends got bullied as well. And I abandonned some of them to make the bullies stop. What else could I do?

If you were in my shoes, you wouldn’t like your friends to suffer because of you. But some of them did, and that wasn’t fair either. So I stopped hanging out with them in school. I spoke to them only outside, because I didn’t want them to get hurt.

So what I’m saying is. Homophobic bulying is something that needs adressed. There are a number of “out” gay students in the school, and I have been contacted by even more who have not made it public but have seen what the minority of us have gone through with bullying and they don’t want to endure it.

I’ve decided to leave school next year. I’d love to stay, for my friends, for the teachers, for my education, and for myself and my self respect.

In a sense it feels i’m running away, but i’ll be going to college to do something I want to do, something I love. I’ll probably endure more hardships, and i’ll probably miss Regent, but i’ll be happy I left.

I hope for the sake of those students I have left behind that the issue is more seriously addressed. So they feel safe and comfortable in their environment. So that they get a good education free from bullying.

Thanks for your time in Regent, because even though I’ve endured all of this, i’ll still have good memories to look back on, and there’ll be a lot of great people i’ll miss.

Davie Magill, year 12 2011

That letter was sent on May 27th, after a year of half efforts by his school to confront the bullying that had predictable effects- scared gay kids, afraid that they might be next. That Davie would leave some day and everything would revert to ‘normal’…

      But, they were wrong… I got the last email two days ago and Davie described his latest efforts. He has contacted an organization called ‘The Rainbow Project’ and they have taken his lead and with his permission they will contact his school to begin the process of securing the safety of all the  other kids who are at risk because of their sexuality. They are deadly serious about this matter, and because of the careful documentation and the leadership of a 16 year old poet, I truly believe that change has come to northern Ireland… That for the first time, there is hope for that little boy or girl who’s only ‘crime’ is the way they were born.

       I couldn’t be prouder!! And now, I feel the hope and joy returning to my life as well. And I owe it to a young man who has shown me the way and reminded me that our path is inexorably linked-  we may not be related by blood, as he says, but will always be related by something even more important… our hearts.

            And now, I’m crying again, but it’s OK… I love you, Davie!



Editor’s note:  please visit another blogger who is very important to me– he has endured a lot in the past, trying to understand his feelings and has completed the coming out process to his friends and family… He has been an inspiration to me, and now has taken up the mantle to do what he can, to stop the bullying that has caused so much destruction in the gay community over the years. — I couldn’t be prouder of him!! He’s a real fighter, and I hope you will show him some love and support! He deserves EVERY BIT!!!   Here’s the link, or go to the bottom of this page and under my favorite blogs, you will find his– Confused Schoolboy.