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In the section, students shared their coming out stories.
When Atascocita High School’s yearbooks were sent out this year, some parents were upset over a new addition: an LGBTQ section celebrating four queer students’ coming out stories. They were so upset, in fact, they’ve been criticizing and harassing the yearbook students on social media and online forums.
The Texas high school’s “Prideful Eagles” section included the adversities and struggles faced by the featured LGBTQ students. While each story is powerful and memorable, many parents argued on forum Atascocita.com that the yearbook was celebrating LGBTQ students when it shouldn’t have.
“We can’t pray in school but now we have a section strictly dedicated to the gay community explaining how, when and why they came ‘out,'” user lynnsgirl wrote. “I’m honestly disgusted and embarrassed.”
In light of recent events, I wanted to give people the chance to put a face with on the back end of hurtful comments made against LGBTQ+ pic.twitter.com/LY1pMUEQ9s
— Katherine Kay (@KatEliKay) May 23, 2017
Another user, SteelerNation, harshly criticized the section. “That’s jamming their crap down our throats!” they said.
Users later attacked one student, lesbian Catholic Natalie Mendoza, for her coming out story and her yearbook quote, “I can turn your girl.” The attacks made Mendoza feel ashamed of herself as a lesbian woman.
“My friends know my sexual orientation and love and respect me regardless,” Mendoza told the Houston Chronicle. “There was many immature and ridiculous jokes, but mine, in specific, stood out due to my sexual orientation.”
someone go grab your parent. pic.twitter.com/KhwFrhpzqW
— Lauren (@laurmartinezz) May 22, 2017
Despite the extended social media and national news coverage, many of the section’s critics feel no shame about their comments.
“Does anyone want my autograph? I believe this is the most ignorant thing I’ve ever been involved in!” lynnsgirl said. “I have no regrets! I still don’t believe that belongs in our students yearbook.”
“Simmer down slim shady’s!” another user, yomom, said. “It’s funny how these people come on here judging us Bc we made comments on the yearbook and said it was inappropriate? Irony.”
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.