Survey Responses Reveal Campus Bigotry


Layla Wright, Editor

The Sexuality and Gender Alliance club (SAGA) celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by producing a video based on a survey offered to the student body.  The video was available for viewing in 5th period classes on May 17.

The survey asked students to share their personal experience with discrimination and acts of hate.

Leadership teacher Lindsay Webb-Peploe helped SAGA to put the video together and organize the logistics. “They met with me, I sent out the e-mail for people to submit their stories anonymously. I helped SAGA get it approved by the administration and then I sent it out to all of the teachers to show on the international day against homophobia and transphobia,” she said.

“In SAGA we have a lot of conversations about transphobia and homophobia we see ourselves, and so we know it’s here and we want people to be more aware of it. In that awareness, we want them to see that they have a part to play in stopping it,” said the club’s co-president junior Maddie House.

The video began with a story about a student who said they would “drown their baby if they were gay”.

The club wanted to open with these shocking words to capture their audience. “We did put that comment in the beginning to sort of hit it right off the bat and get people to go ‘oh, this is really something’,” explained co-president junior Paige Love.

Love said that they received even more powerful stories that did not make it into the video.”We had another 1 that a girl submitted about being hit on by a guy and how when she said that she was gay, that he started yelling at her and calling her all these slurs. It got cut because the audio got messed up, but I wish it was in the video,” she said. “There are so many other stories. We had to severely cut what we had which was already a short video to just 5 minutes long. ”

This is the 1st time a club has attempted to disseminate a school-wide video, which caused some discussion on campus. “I thought it was going to be something that wasn’t that big of a deal. Personally, I was like ‘oh, it’s just a video, kinda like the ASB election videos,’ but I’ve quickly realized that students do think it’s a big thing, and even just in Academy a student said that he would understand if someone were to laugh at that video,” said Love.

Love said that hearing this negativity is exactly what motivated SAGA to produce the video. “I think that video is the light we need for people to realize that it’s a real problem especially considering all the hate we got when we announced it, which kinda just proved our point that it is an issue.”

Senior Lindsay Torres was 1 of several volunteers along with teachers and other members of SAGA who read the anonymously submitted stories for the film. “It was definitely a really powerful experience. I had only read 3 things which were pretty short, but I was reading some of the other stuff and it was quite horrific,” she said.

Torres also recognized the negative reactions to the video. “There are a lot of people who are really disrespectful and might think ‘oh you’re pushing this liberal agenda onto us,’ but I think what we have right now is open to anyone who’s ready to hear it,” she said.

According to SAGA, the club also received hateful comments and even direct threats in the survey. “Unfortunately, we received multiple hate responses. It is always disappointing to be reminded of the homophobia and transphobia that exists at Campo,” said House.

“Receiving this hate has proven our point that homophobia and transphobia continue to be present at Campo, and action still needs to be taken to address this. We couldn’t be more proud of the team that put this video together- as we have been reminded how important this work is,” added Love.

SAGA plans to continue to reach out to the students who want to change campus culture. “Even though we understand that a lot of people won’t take this video seriously and we know some people won’t change the way they act after seeing this video, we want to either plants seeds for those changes later on or hopefully have some people see that they have an important role in stopping transphobia and homophobia on campus,” said House.

Love also recognized that some students have a very strong mindset, but she still wishes to reach out and spread awareness. “Do I expect to change every mind on campus? No, absolutely not. But I’m hoping that even just one person sort of seeing something or realizing that there’s more to this issue than they had previously seen is really what our goal is,” she said.