It gets better.

I'm straight. I've always known that, so I don't have quite the same perspective of feeling like there's something inside of me that needed to get out, to be expressed. But that doesn't mean that I don't know what gay-bashing bullying feels like, or how much it hurts.
 
It doesn't hurt because there's anything wrong with being gay. It hurts because when you get attacked because people think you're gay, or use homosexuality as an insult, you know that those people just don't care about you at all. They don't know you, they don't want to know you, and they want to hurt you based on their perceptions of you. And it does hurt.
 
And I've seen what being afraid, or being intimidated, or being shouted down can do to a person. My dad was gay. Sure, he did what many gay men do--he played the part. He dated women, got married, had a kid--but he never stopped being gay. Even though he was a smart man, and a confident man at times, he let his feeling of isolation drive him to make some pretty big mistakes.
 
He died almost 15 years ago, so I never really had the chance to engage him in an adult-to-adult way about whether he still felt as alone as he did in his younger days. My understanding of his mindset is admittedly speculative. I wonder if there was shame in his heart; I hope there wasn't, but I worry otherwise.
 
He was an independent guy, for better or worse, and he passed that on to me. I took flak for the clothes I wore, and the way I did my hair, and the way I spoke, throughout much of my pre-college days. People called me "fag," pushed me around, and tried their best to exclude me. Sometimes, they succeeded.
 
But you know what? I left those motherfuckers in my dust.
 
Their intellectual smallness keeps them doing shit that I got past--thanks to a good education, caring friends, loving family, and a strong sense of my own self-worth. It's not ego, and it's not bravado. I'm worth my successes, and I'm better than the ignorance that some people tried to inflict on me as a weapon. So are you.
 
If you're LGBT (or hell, even if you aren't) and struggling with aggressive ignorance around you, I'm telling you that it gets better. There's more support out there than ever, and the world is smaller than it's ever been thanks to technology and education. Finding someone who understands your pain and your isolation, and can help you overcome them, has never been easier.
 
Don't let the bozos win. Don't be pushed around. Put them in your rearview mirror and excel. It gets better because you can make it better by showing them how wrong they are.