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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's Friday morning, time again for StoryCorps. Americans are talking about their lives in this project. Rob Littlefield was inspired to share his story by others who've spoken out against bullying in recent months. At StoryCorps, Rob remembered junior high school, and what happened when his classmates learned he was gay.

Mr. ROB LITTLEFIELD: It was like tremendous hate that I had never experienced in my entire life. People called me fag, pointed at me, did pranks on my desk. And it went on - on the school bus, in the classroom, in my neighborhood. And those kids teamed up and found a way to smash my hand in a car door, and I lost the end of one of my fingers.

I lived that year not ever being able to talk to anybody about it. You know, I can remember my parents saying, what's going on - you know, why did this happen? And at that age, you know, you're scared to death. And the only way that I could see out of that situation was to take my life. I thought about it; I thought about it hard.

But my father came home from work one night, and he sat our family down, and he said: We're moving to Tulsa. Those were the greatest words I ever heard in my life.

At 55 years old, I look at this finger still, all the time. I can't help but look at that finger, and I could remember the names of those kids when I was 13. I wonder what they think of their gay grandson. I wonder what they think of their gay son. Well, I just wonder how they're living their lives today.

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INSKEEP: That's Rob Littlefield at StoryCorps in Oklahoma City. His interview will be archived in the StoryCorps collection at the Library of Congress. And by the way, you can get this project's podcast at npr.org.

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