By Lucy Bryant via SWNS
A young woman who was bullied for ‘sounding like a man’ has found peace - after being compared to her idol CHER.
Charlotte MacGregor, 22, was badly bullied at school because of her low voice.
She was constantly asked if she was a boy or transgender – and even had an entire bottle of water poured over her head as she sat in class.
The negative attention badly affected her confidence until she began to be compared to her favorite singer and movie star Cher - who also has a deep voice.
It helped her to accept differences and now shares her story on TikTok about being “different” as a way of learning to love her individuality.
She regularly receives thousands of supportive comments.
Charlotte, a retail worker from Melbourne, Australia, said: “Growing up was really hard – to think people bullied me because my voice sounded different still amazes me.
“I wanted to change it so badly to sound more ‘girly’ - but I’ve finally accepted who I am and love what makes me individual.
“The world would be very boring if we all sounded and looked the same. Being compared to Cher is incredible too - she's such an icon!"
Charlotte first noticed a change in the pitch of her voice when she was 12, as it dropped from being high-pitched to be much deeper than her peers.
The change was also noticed by her supportive family- but others around her were far from accepting.
"My friends told me they could no longer hang around with me and teachers simply watched as my life was torn apart by cruel taunts – until it became so bad I dropped out of school," Charlotte said.
"Although I still receive some negativity about my voice, I've learned to ignore the hate and focus on the positive instead – like the people who compare my tone of voice to Cher!"
Charlotte, who had a very high-pitched voice as a young child, didn’t have any medical concerns about her low voice as it was put down to hormonal changes she went through puberty.
Throughout her childhood, she looked up videos on how to change her voice and even visited a speech therapist who taught her a more ‘feminine tone’ - which she was able to use for short periods of time but that didn’t come naturally and ended up hurting her throat.
“I thought if I sounded more “girly” people wouldn’t give me as much hate,” Charlotte said.
“But I’ve now come to the conclusion that this is my voice and I don’t need or want to change that.”
After moving to a new school at 15 the bullying got worse.
“Through the grapevine I heard it all, and I was so hurt that these people were my friends but they were saying nasty things about me,” Charlotte said.
“The majority would bully me, and my friends just started to join in with that - they didn’t want to be singled out and bullied themselves.
‘’Quite a few of my childhood friends told me they could no longer hang around with me because of how I sounded.
‘’It was really heartbreaking to go through.’’
Charlotte hated going to school and would shake as she arrived every morning, wondering what ‘nasty comments’ would be made about her that day.
“People would ask if I was transgender – which I know isn’t a bad thing – but getting it constantly to put me down was really nasty and can really affect someone's confidence and their mental health,” Charlotte explained.
“And then it would be, ‘are you a male or are you a female?’ questioning my gender, and I just think that’s disgusting.
“It’s not any of your business.
“I remember this one time these boys who absolutely hated me – obviously for my voice - they had fruit and they piffed it at me, and then to make matters worse they took a two-liter bottle of water and – with the teacher right there, who did nothing about it – they poured the whole bottle of water over my head.
‘’I felt humiliated and was already so shy that I couldn't cope - I just had to leave the room."
Charlotte ended up leaving that school after the incident and went on to drop out of multiple schools due to bullying and its effects on her mental health.
“For about two or three years, from the age of 17 to nearly 20, I would sit in my room and do nothing,” Charlotte said.
“I’d sit in the corner of my room, no one could get me out of the house, the only person was my nan who is literally my best friend.
“She helped me through a lot - it was the hardest years of my life.
“Even not being at school I still got the online trolls - it would never leave me.
“People made edits of photos of me and put captions saying I was a man and things - it was awful.”
She even found that her depression made her voice get deeper.
“When I was sad and upset it just got worse and deeper which made things even harder.
‘’I ended up losing years of my life just because my voice was different from the other girls,’’ she said.
But things turned around when she started doing YouTube videos in a bid to get her life back and show that she was happy with how she sounded – but was picked on and bullied online for doing those as well.
Charlotte now shares videos on her TikTok, which have up to 4.6million views, about what it’s been like to be bullied for being “different” and to see if other people could relate to her life experiences.
She has been overwhelmed by the positive response to her videos – which have reached over four million people, including some of the bullies who made her life hell.
She has received messages from former bullies claiming they only bullied her to avoid getting bullied themselves - comments she says she cannot understand and can forgive but not forget.
“I feel so supported now – despite the negative comments I still get,” Charlotte said.
“I’ve learned to ignore them because if you react, you’re giving them what they want.”
Charlotte is regularly compared to Cher, who also has a distinctive lower voice, a comparison which she is more than happy to accept.
“I love her, she’s one of my inspirations,” she said.
“It’s insane that people think I sound like her, and they ask if I can sing like her – but I only sing in the shower!”
She hopes her honesty online will help others who find themselves being bullied for being different and inspire them to be proud of who they are, just as she has learned to be.
“It doesn’t matter what you sound like or what you look like – it's about who you are as a person.
“I’m finally happy and not trying to change who I am just to fit other people's ideas of what’s ‘normal’.”
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