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Readers might remember Riverview High School senior Seelie Romard. He spoke with The Third last month just before heading back to classes. At the time he told us that he wasn’t too optimistic about the new school year.

While excited about his final year of high school, he was worried about how some of the other students might treat him. “I’m constantly worried about kids bullying me for my appearance or how I act/identify. It’s a constant worry,” he told us at the time.

That’s where we recently picked up our conversation with Romard.

“it’s not too bad”

I figured it would go horribly because I am terribly pessimistic when it comes to things like this, but it’s not too bad,” responded Romard when asked about the school year so far.

While he continues to be bullied at Riverview, it is happening less frequently.

“I’m still being made fun of because of my appearance. I have had people throw things at both me and my sister, who was standing up for me, because of what I assume is the way I present myself to other folks,” said Romard. “They tend to see an openly queer person and think, ‘hey, what a great target!’ which is unfortunate, but it is my reality.

“I’ve had folks purposefully disturb me and my friends while we were eating lunch under the guise of a ‘treasure hunt,’ he said. “I know they were doing it to interrupt me is because it's not the first time these folks have done this to me. If it were anyone else, I wouldn't have taken it as a hostile approach; but, since I know them, I did.

“Other than that, I've had very minor interactions with other folks.”

Last month Romard also shared with The Third his concerns about his safety while at school. He recalled being terrified to go to school because he wasn’t sure that the adults there would respond appropriately if he needed them. It had happened to him in the past so he had no reason to think that things would change. He acknowledged that he had some teachers that he relied on and felt comforted by, but overall, he wasn’t too hopeful about the grown-ups keeping him safe.

But things are improving.

“some of the best adults I have in my life”

“The staff at Riverview this year are amazing, and they do their best to make me feel the safest I can,” he said. “The staff have improved and are genuinely some of the best adults I have in my life, other than my parents, of course.”

He also credits his voice for the newfound safety he is feeling around Riverview these days. “I do feel safer, and I think the only reason why is because of these interviews. People are seeing my name in the news, and they seem to be scared of trying to harass me or bully my friends.”

Better than Malcolm Munroe

He says that his current school is doing a better job than his former junior high, Malcolm Munroe.

“I don't find that the people at RHS are as bad for outwardly bullying you,” he said. “It's a very rare occasion to see someone being bullied or physically pushed around in the hallways, as I find that a lot of the bullying is done in a classroom.”

Despite being a high school senior, Romard says that he frequently experiences what he calls ‘attempts’ at bullying from 7th and 8th graders while waiting for his transfer bus outside of Malcolm.

He tries not to let it bother him, but he doesn’t like to see others bullied as he was at the school.

“If I see it firsthand, I will put a stop to it,” he said. “I am not one for violence. I’d much rather ignore the person being a pain in my side rather than interact and get myself or another student hurt.”

Old Bullies and Future Role Models

While Romard is having a better-than-expected senior year, his optimism doesn’t extend to his current bullies.

“Most of them are also seniors; and I don't think they’re willing to change,” he said. “You have to be willing to change to make a change. I don't personally think they'll ever change.”

When we last spoke to Romard, he had this message to other young transgender people: “You’re valid, you’re heard, you’re seen, and you’re loved. Things will get better eventually. Those are the words I’d wished to hear for a long time before I came out.”

We reminded him of that message and asked if he had anything to add. “I think my message still stands; younger transgender folks need more protection now than ever,” he said. “There is so much hate in this world.

“I've talked to other transgender students that go to other schools like Sydney Academy and I've given them the tips and tricks that I've learned over the years as well,” he said. “I don't personally think I am (a role model), but I think it would be great if someone saw me as a role model. Even if I'm not someone's role model, I would love to help them in any way possible.”

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