For our second installment of More than Words, we met with M-A junior Sandy Han, senior Abigail Ponce, and an M-A student who requested anonymity.

Han, who is now the secretary of M-A’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club, first began to question his sexuality in middle school. Afraid of the reactions of his parents, he waited until freshman year to confide in them. Although he suspected a negative reaction, he was devastated to hear that his parents did not take him seriously.The stress provoked by bullying, academic pressure, and coming out severely affected his mental health. He was hospitalized last year. Now, Han is much happier and healthier, and wears a rainbow pin over his heart every day to school, “for the Orlando victims.”

Next, Senior Abigail Ponce describes how one offensive, racist comment deeply affected the way she saw herself and her culture. Ponce struggled to work through the incident and accept herself, but eventually came to view her identity with pride; “I’m Mexican. I love being Mexican.”

Watch Abigail tell her story below (click “cc” for subtitles due to background noise).

An M-A student who wished to remain anonymous uncomfortably recalled his most harrowing experience with bullying. During lunch, an older student who had bullied him for years pushed him off the hill where he was standing. Tumbling down, he lost consciousness and thought he was going to die. His mother rushed him to the hospital and soon thereafter transferred him to another school.