Teen Pride: Facing the bullying 'demons'
ISAAC AH KIONG
What does Pride mean to you?Share your stories, photos and videos.
What does Pride mean to you?
As part of Auckland Pride Festival, five young people will perform their heartfelt stories in Teen Faggots Come To Life.
We asked them to share their journeys as young, gay, transgender, fa'afafine, fakaleiti and bisexual Māori and Pacific Island artists. This is Isaac's story.
I have been bullied throughout my years in school. It was easy to just brush it off, right? Wrong! It was the hardest thing (aside from exams and tests) at school, from my last year of primary school all the way to the end of my years at college.
When I was 15 I saw the story of Matthew Shepard, an American student who was tortured and murdered in a hate crime. His mother was on Oprah and just watching it made me cringe and stutter, hearing what that boy had gone through.
I felt a connection with Matthew. We both went through the same thing, not exactly, but the same feeling when the bullies beat us.
In my last year at college I wrote a speech about discrimination and dedicated it to Matthew Shepard. I won an award for that speech, probably not because of its quality, but because of the heart that I put into every word.
Then, when I was in drama school, we were given the opportunity to write a solo on anything we wanted and it was to be performed at the Mangere Arts Centre.
I didn't know what I wanted to do but finally I remembered Matthew Shepard and began to create my solo piece, Michael's World.
The chance to tell a story that was inspired by another, for me, has got to be the best experience I could ever get.
Although the storyline of my solo is not true, I have put in certain events that have occurred in my life, bullying being the main one.
Now I'm being given the opportunity to share this story with others.
I know that the majority of the world's population has been through a phase of bullying, in or out of school. Our lives are different but a lot of us face similar demons, not matter what sexuality, religion or culture.
Teen Faggots Come To Life plays Thursday 13 - Saturday 15 February, 7pm The Basement Studio, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland.