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Image via Kevin Wong/Flickr (CC-BY)
Chants included to make the school ‘straight again.’
Members of a Kansas high school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance were looking forward to the school’s homecoming parade this past Thursday. But things turned ugly for the Olathe Northwest LGBTQ students after onlookers began bullying the alliance marchers.
At the end of the parade, the GSA members were marching back to their high school when fellow students began yelling at them. Some told the GSA students to kill themselves, while others used homophobic slurs and pelted candy at the students. Some chanted the phrase “make Olathe Northwest straight again,” a homophobic iteration of President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
“We were expecting to have fun and just walk around and show our pride,” one student told Fox4KC. “People were throwing things at us, and I did hear a few words shouted at us kind of along of the lines of ‘Make America straight again.'”
Eyewitnesses claim students began crying afterward, and one GSA member avoided going to school on Friday as a result. A local mom, Missy, grew up in Olathe Northwest and has a daughter that participated in the parade. She was shocked to hear that “awful, ugly things” were thrown at her daughter’s group.
“I’m embarrassed because this is where I grew up,” Missy told Fox. “This isn’t who we are, come on. Where is this coming from? Why? Why do we have to hate each other? I don’t get it.”
The school district has since promised to investigate the incident. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Erin Dugan described the school as largely supportive toward the LGBTQ community.
“Lots of students are coming forward to say, ‘Hey I heard something too,’ or, ‘Hey this doesn’t feel good,'” Dr. Dugan explained. “Actually the majority of our students are coming forward to say, ‘Hey what can I do to support, this isn’t who we are.'”
Still, the high school’s LGBTQ students are scared. After all, this appears to be the new normal in the age of President Donald Trump.
“Before I thought my school was a safe place for me to be, and now I’m just kind of scared, and I’m wondering if I should even speak out,” the anonymous student told Fox.
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.