To celebrate Spirit Day, Queerty dug deep into the vaults to find some of our most uplifting and inspiring stories of overcoming bullying. These slice-of-life vignettes find our community smiling in the face of adversity, turning the other cheek, putting bullies in their proper place, and refusing to subscribe to any sort of self-victimizing narrative. Basically, these people kick major ass and it’s time to salute them.
Joseph Flinders, a radio producer in the U.K., has proved that the pen is mightier than the sword. Buzzfeed is reporting that when Flinders discovered his 11-year-old sister Lola had been told by a schoolmate that it was “disgusting” she had a gay brother, he posted an open letter on Facebook addressing the situation.
Upon learning about the homophobic bully, Flinders explained to Lola, “Not everybody gets an upbringing like we’ve had. We know it’s not disgusting, because what does it matter? It’s not a choice you can make. But some people’s parents don’t think in the same way as the rest of us.” Although Flinders made an attempt at expressing compassion in order to pacify his visibly upset sister, his protective big brother instincts kicked in as he became upset that Lola was shaken by the words of another boy at her school.
“I explained to her I wasn’t mad he said it, because it’s not the first person to have said something like that, but I was upset that she was upset and that she didn’t need to be because I’m a big boy.”
Flinders’ anger when he began to post his thoughts on the social media network soon turned to pity as he realized the bully’s homophobic viewpoint was the unfortunate result of his upbringing. “You’re not born homophobic,” the 21-year-old from Manchester told Buzzfeed. He added, “Lola was such a clean slate so when I told her I was gay it was no issue because it’s not an issue until you’re taught it’s one.”
Along with the Facebook status update, Flinders also included a photo of the siblings at Manchester Pride. Joseph and Lola were clearly brought up in a loving, accepting and non-judgmental environment. Their parents should be very proud.
The full post reads as follows:
“An open letter to the odious little toad who gave my baby sister a hard time for having a gay big brother. I just wanted to give an example of what a decent upbringing looks like. This is a photo I took of us at the gay pride parade, which she asked to attend with me. I think that’s pretty cool of an eleven-year-old, don’t you?
I’ve never known such an accepting, compassionate, loving child and I don’t want your hate-filled existence making her any less than she is.
I’m not confrontational but this is a nerve I wouldn’t touch if I were you. Thankfully, you’re a dying breed and I imagine this is the last generation that’ll have to endure narrow-minded tools.
I think she’s pretty great and she’s prouder than ever to tell people her brother is gay. So enjoy spreading hate to nobody that gives a toss.”
According to Buzzfeed, one of the replies Joseph Flinders received on his post simply stated, “Marry me.” Something tells us the proposals are going to keep on coming for a while.
Read Flinders’ full response below.