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How Lady Gaga Helps My Mentees on the Spectrum Who Are Bullied

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When I was growing up I never really had someone to look up to who was on the autism spectrum. For that reason I looked up to people like actor Will Smith, who had been able to overcome obstacles in his life. Early on, I saw the importance of having a role model and the positive impact on my own development. This theme later led me to become a mentor for those with autism.

Many of my mentees thoroughly enjoy pop culture. So when they were having trouble with bullying, I went to the internet to research celebrities who had become bullying ambassadors. The first name that popped up for me was none other than pop-sensation Lady Gaga. Gaga told Rolling Stone magazine that she used to be bullied in high school for having a big nose. Countless peers would call her names like “ugly.”

At first I didn’t know how to make the connection of Gaga to my mentees — until she came out with her smash hit song “Born This Way.”

The song is catchy but also has a positive lyric in it that really resonated with my mentees when I played them the song.

“There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are” became something we would discuss in deeper detail.

As I continued to research celebrities, I found out that both Bruno Mars and Adam Levine had been victims of bullying as kids too.

I’ve taken these opportunities to learn more about each of their stories to educate my mentees and include them in talks I give around the country on bullying prevention based on my own experiences being bullied.

At the end of the day my message to our communities has always been the same. Most have been a victim of bullying at some point in their lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome these obstacles to find the beauty in ourselves. Some people who have been bullied have gone on to do amazing things. That potential is what I want my mentees to see every day. If I can leave them with that, I’ve done my job.

“It is important that we push the boundaries of love and acceptance. It is important that we spread tolerance and equality for all students.” – Lady Gaga

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Originally published: July 8, 2016
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