Marlee's Story

Hi, my name’s Marlee.  I’m 16, and I go to school in inner city Melbourne, so easy access to all the good shops. I play music quite a bit, and probably my favourite thing. I’ve got six siblings, and yeah, I love them, and I love my family.
I’ve experienced discrimination mostly either at school, or just off random people in the street, and you don’t really expect it as much at school yet because a lot of schools have antidiscrimination policies, but it’s really the place that it happens the most. I’ve moved schools in the past, and I’m currently really happy at my school, it’s like a caring place, but I haven’t had such luck at other places.

At my last school I found that, well people would just say things, like they would just throw these words around, and they probably wouldn’t have been meant to be offensive or discriminatory, but you know, when you’re just a wee tacker, you’re just young, you get these words thrown around and they’re used as a synonym for bad, or crappy, and you don’t really get why that would be bad, and you get this feeling that when you’re already starting trying to work out who you are, and what you’re planning on doing, and everything that comes along with growing up, you’re getting this crap thrown at you from every angle. It’s not even meant to be crappy, but just makes you just feel like you’re not worth as much as the other people before you even know who you are.

None of my straight friends have ever had to come out and say, “Oh this, I’m this, so I’m straight, that’s who I am, just accept me,”

When it comes to gender I’ve always been one of those people who’s just like, oh, no I don’t really want to act like that. They want you to either be butch, or they want you to be feminine, or they want you to be masculine, or they want you to be just one thing, and I think my friends are all like, you’re not Marlee the girl, you’re not Marlee the boy, you’re not Marlee the gender queer person; you’re Marlee the person, you’re Marlee our friend,” which I think is the best way people can be. I don’t think you should be judged on being one thing or the other, you should be judged on being yourself.

I guess my experience with depression, it hit me earlier in high school than I am now, but it hit me in like year seven, and even just getting the label of being depressed can lead to more depression, because people would be like, “Oh, you’re a slashie, you’re a this, you’re a that,” and you’re like, “Well no, but OK.”  And on top of already getting these, “Oh, you faggot, you queer, you homo,” on top of that, like you lose all this self worth, and a lot of people just don’t seem to get how they might be joking on things like that, but they don’t seem to get that it can actually really upset you. I mean for a period of time I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want to wake up, I just wanted to stay in this... my bedroom, I just wanted to stay asleep in my little cocoon, and I sort of withdrew socially, and people didn’t seem to get why, which sort of led to further alienation from others. And no-one ever seems to want to be around someone who’s sad, so especially when you’re younger, people don’t get it, and slowly I guess it went from people joking around and being mean to me, to people ignoring me, and to me being invisible, rather than being something that maybe people didn’t like, and I just... I guess I stopped being who I was, and just became sort of this body walking around pretending to be a person.  

When seeking support it’s always really hard just to make that first step on contacting someone to help you out, and you always think I’m alone in this, there’s no-one who knows how I’m feeling, so I think it’s really important that you step over that first step and you call say somebody like Kid’s Helpline, or you contact any of these, like Beyond Blue, you look at different services around in your area that can help out, but that first step’s always going to be the hardest.

In a world where there was no discrimination against sexuality, gender, I’d feel comfortable. I assume everyone would feel comfortable and that being this... there’d be no fear in just being who you are.  There’d... everyone would just be happy, there wouldn’t be kids being kicked out of home, there wouldn’t be people at work too scared to talk about their home life at work, there would be... it’d be a world without fear, and a world where, well everyone felt loved.