Dear Madame L,
There's a kid in my school who is always being teased and bullied because the other kids think he's acting gay. I don't know if he really is gay, or what, but I don't care. I'm the only person that isn't mean to him. I've known him since we were little kids, but some of those other kids have, too, so I don't know why they're being so mean. He's starting to get depressed, and I'm worried about him. What can I do to help my friend?
Madame L admires you for being a good friend. So, first of all, keep being a friend to this person. And let him know you're always his friend. Stick up for him, speak up for him, and stand by him. Also, when he needs to talk, listen to him. And help him find a counselor he can talk to.
Madame L has a pamphlet, "101 Ways to Combat Prejudice," which she'll send to you (write a private email to "ellemadame[at]gmail.com" with your address), for more ideas on what you can do to help. You can also find the pamphlet online.
Your school should be helping. There are lots of websites with suggestions to help school teachers and administrators foster a safe environment for gay students. This one has statistics and examples as well as suggestions.
It's a tough battle for you and your friend to fight alone, so get all the help you can.
If any of Madame L's other Dear Readers have suggestions for this student, please write.