I wasn’t very popular when I was thirteen years old. I was plump and I had a mousy-brown afro precisely in the era when afros weren’t fashionable. I was also unmistakably, overtly, Queer, a fact which was blindingly obvious to the tougher boys and nastier girls, but which I was only beginning to realise. Until then I thought it was perfectly okay to turn up to a fancy dress party in your mum’s old bridesmaid dress and to read romance comics during little lunch. In this transition to a greater self-knowing, as part of the instinctive dance of teenage tribalism, I drifted towards the other outcasts, the fat girls, the red-headed and the variously sexually aberrant who all spent their leisure time avoiding random acts of violence in the schoolyard. In 1983 students were only moderately worse bullies than teachers and there was little respite for those who stood out.
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