Sean – ‘People bullied me because I was too feminine’

24 July 2020

Sean shares his experience of being bullied at school because of his sexual orientation, and how this made him become very introverted and defensive.

Sean – ‘At school, people bullied me because I was too feminine’

Sean first experienced discrimination when he was in school. His classmates bullied him because they thought he was ‘too feminine’. This experience affected him in a way that led him to become very introverted and defensive.

As an adult, I dealt with past issues and realised that my defensive behaviour stemmed from my experiences as a child.

Sean decided to revisit his past and realised that his childhood experiences influenced who he is today. Facing the past has helped him work towards letting go of self-stigma and changing his defensive behaviour.

Homophobia continues to be a major barrier to ending the global HIV epidemic. In Zambia, same-sex relations are criminalised and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In consequence, many people don’t access health services for fear of prosecution, leaving them vulnerable to HIV. Sean found that the decision to work on himself and face past traumatic experiences helped him let go of self-stigma and make improvements to become a better person.

About the author

This interview was conducted by Levy Ngosa, a citizen journalist from Zambia.

Video edits by Julia Dotras.

Stories for Change

‘Stories for Change’ is a series of real-life stories of stigma and discrimination, developed in collaboration with citizen journalists from Malawi, Zambia and Eswatini.

Find more stories here.