A B.C. RCMP officer who was bullied to the point of feeling suicidal as a child has turned those experiences into a realistic and popular presentation to high school students across the country.
Const. Tad Milmine, 38, has spoken in front of more than 15,000 students since he started his anti-bullying talk in October 2012. Milmine is an unusual spokesperson in many ways: the openly gay Mountie started the presentation on his own time and expense, wanting only to help teens with the feelings he remembers so vividly.
"I let them know I've been there. I know what it's like to be down, to be bullied, to feel alone suicidal, to not have friends, to not have a role model, to not have someone to talk to, to have a crappy home life," Milmine told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview.
He also encourages students to email him directly: "If they just want to share their story, I'll listen without judgement."
Milmine had been a Mountie for two years when he read about Jamie Hubley, an Ottawa teen who killed himself after relentless bullying.
"I recognized that I didn't want to be a person reading headlines anymore and hoping the world would become a better place. I wanted to do something about it," Milmine explained.
He went on to create Bullying Ends Here which he brought to schools in Surrey, B.C. Teachers spread the word and soon he was in high demand. The RCMP recognized the positive potential and arranged for Milmine to be paid to visit schools in Canada and the U.S. full-time. The arrangement will be re-evaluated at the end of the school year.
"I'm peeling back the layers. They're not seeing a gay man, a police officer. They're seeing a human being," he says. "I'm creating a bond, not just throwing information at them and hoping they get it."
Milmine was also featured in a YouTube video highlighting gay and lesbian RCMP officers in B.C.'s Lower Mainland last year. The "It Gets Better" video earned widespread praise for dispelling some of the stereotypes about the RCMP.
"I think the only reason that not more members aren't out doesn't have to do with the force, but has to do with society," says Milmine.
Since Milmine started reaching out to youth, he's received 4,000 emails; four of them credit him with saving their lives, he says.
Some high school students have started a Twitter campaign with the hashtag, #tadmilmineonellen, to get the Mountie on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Also on HuffPost:
Who got the last laugh here? Jessica Alba told the Daily Mirror in 2010 that she was <a href="http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/the-ticket/2010/06/jessica-alba-overcame-bullying.html">bullied so badly</a> by her classmates that her father had to escort her into school.
"Twilight" hunk Robert Pattinson claims he was bullied while attending <a href="http://www.metro.co.uk/showbiz/816987-robert-pattinson-i-was-bullied-at-school">Harrodian School</a> in west London, Metro UK reports. The actor apparently got hit a lot because he liked to "behave like an actor."
Oscar and Emmy winner Kate Winslet endured merciless taunting while in school, CBS News reports. Classmates mocked her weight by calling her "<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-207_162-2144550.html">Blubber</a>."
Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg's mother claims that neighbours in their suburban Phoenix, AZ community used to taunt the family. Eve Adler told 60 Minutes that people used to chant, "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/steven-spielberg-anti-semitism-bullying_n_2002155.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-british-columbia&ir=Canada%20British%20Columbia">The Spielbergs are dirty Jews.</a>"
Now who got the upper hand here? Supermodel Tyra Banks was <a href="http://blog.sfgate.com/dailydish/2011/11/11/tyra-banks-opens-up-about-being-bullied/">teased by schoolmates</a> for her taller frame, the San Francisco Gate reported. But the bullying didn't end there. Early on in her modeling career she was taunted for her curvy figure.
The King of Rock and Roll didn't always have fans falling at his feet. The Daily Mail reports that Elvis Presley got bullied by fellow students at <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1302136/Elvis-The-intimate-portrait-King-best-friend-29-years.html">Humes High School</a> because he never wore jeans.
Few celebrities have spoken out about bullying the way Demi Lovato has. Lovato told People.com that her detractors would write "<a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20631674,00.html">hate petitions</a>" against her while she was in middle school. Lovato said at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/18/we-day-vancouver-demi-lovato-desmond-tutu-youth_n_1980296.html">We Day Vancouver</a>, "I know there's someone out here in this audience who's being bullied and I know they need someone to look up to."
Chris Rock may be a funny guy, but the bullying he experienced in school is no joke. In 2001 he told CNN's Larry King Live that he got called "<a href="http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0102/12/lkl.00.html">n***** every day</a>."
Bet they're regretting this now: MTV UK reports that even <a href="http://www.mtv.co.uk/news/justin-bieber/353124-justin-bieber-bullied-born-to-be-somebody">Justin Bieber</a> was bullied in school. He said, "Most people in their lifetime have been at some point. I think it's about time that people start making a change."
Victoria Beckham credits her thick skin to being<a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/2764509/Victoria-Beckham-says-being-bullied-at-school-made-her-stronger.html"> mentally and physically bullied</a> in school. She told The Sun, "The only reason for me bringing that up is I have always been a fighter." Here's betting her bullies never had boyfriends as beautiful as David Beckham.