No one was cruel back in the day because it was illegal to be homosexual. Kids in school were not having sex of any kind so there were no gays.
What school did you go to? In mine, people joked about gays, and a guy who wore makeup and platform shoes was routinely beat up in the locker room and one of the coaches supported this action. People called people gay for dumb reasons, as an insult. There were two obese science teachers, women, who lived together. A lot of jokes were said about them.