Pride x r/LGBT Reddit Talk: Valor High
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 2 months ago

Pride x r/LGBT Reddit Talk: Valor High

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

REDDIT TALK BONUS EPISODE: Please enjoy this recording from our most recent chat with Reddit's r/lgbt community recapping Season 2, Episode 2: "This Christian High School Fires Gay Coaches." We invite you to join live future talks by following the subreddit r/lgbt, and we will continue to share recordings of talks as they become available. We're so excited to have partnered with r/lgbt for live weekly Reddit Talks recapping our episodes and providing a platform for listeners and Redditors alike to ask questions and engage with other LGBTQ+ people.

Your host is Levi Chambers, founder of Rainbo Media Co. You can follow Levi @levichambers across socials.

Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @PRIDE across socials.

Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com.

Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com.

PRIDE is produced by Levi Chambers, Frank Driscoll, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson, and Brandon Marlo. Edited by Frank Driscoll and Daniel Ferrera.

*This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media.

Hey everyone, it's Levi. Please enjoy the special bonus episode of our Reddit talk with our slash LGBT, where we discussed season two, episode two of the pride podcast on Valor High and homophobic and transphobic policies in schools. If you haven't heard the valor high episode, there's a link in the show notes below. Our next reddit talk will be discussing this Friday show on the Queer Pirate Queens and Bonnie and Mary read so don't Miss It. This past week's podcast I actually recorded last fall and it was with two coaches, a boy's volleyball coach and name it's a note Tonga. People probably recognize him from Ellen because he was on Ellen shortly after we actually recorded the podcast. And then we also spoke with another coach. She coached Lacrosse. Name is Lauren Benner Um, who they both worked at the same school, which I'll get to in just a moment. And then Lucy Sarkissian is. She was actually a student who kind of became an advocate and really, I guess you'd say like took center stage in this fight against this Christian high school. So the high school was Valor Christian high school and Highland Ranch Colorado. And the long story short that T LGR is that the high school essentially didn't necessarily have a policy that said, hey, you can't be lgbt Q, but when they found out two of their coaches were, they fired them. They were both terminated and it became very clear to these two people who also were like, people of faith and were raised, I believe in Oak was raised Mormon and Lauren was was, I think she's she's Christian Um. So they're both had faith and had been raised in churches of some sort, but they just happened to be gay and it kind of exploded into this I guess you'd say like Um battle where students, and I won't say all of the students, but some of the students, were standing up for these coaches and really taking a stance against the administration at the high school as well as policies like this. They organized protests and they still are. They actually they were able to kind of,...

...without giving away too much, it's in the podcast, they were able to take their efforts in fighting for an oak and Lauren and queer, you know, Faculty essentially, and students, because the policies extended from the staff all the way down to students. So everyone kind of had to essentially, if you were Lgbtq, you were supposed to try to not be, basically, but they were able to take all of their activism and turn it into a nonprofit organization that is actually fighting for change now, which is kind of crazy. But what I found most interesting about this whole uh story is that this is something that's not really that unique in terms of there are a lot of schools that have some sort of religious affiliation that have all sorts of policies that are what you would call homophobic or transphobic or anti lgbt Q, Um basically in the name of religion. Most of them are private, but it's it's all the way down from elementary school to high school and then up to universities like B Y u. They all have policies that are anti lgbtq. So what I thought would be interesting is I'd love to hear from anyone and I'm going to kind of check the comments to see anyone who's attended. Maybe there's someone here in the conversation now who's attended a school that has anti lgbtq policies on their books or even or even dress codes. Um, I mean that's something that that was big last year. Trevor Wilkinson was also on the podcast and he was the student who, Um, had his nails painted and it resulted in suspension multiple times. The school did end up adapting their dress code policy to basically say so that it was essentially more. I this would say, quote unquote there, that who could have paint, everyone could have painted nails, essentially, um. But yeah, so I thought it'd be interesting to open up to anyone. So if there's anyone out there who has attended a school or is attending a school with anti lgbtq policies, either dropped something in the comments or raise your hand, because we'd love to hear from you. Please raise your hand, Um, and we'll get to you as...

...soon as possible. Um. But to continue with that, this this reminds me of a kid who I was graduating from high school and during the speech for graduation they were not allowed to talk about how they were gay at all and so they talked around it the entire time, um, and it was it was an interesting speech. That was kind of funny the way they did. Yes, yes, I think I know the one you're talking about. You're talking about is his name Isander Morex, and he used like he gave his speech. I think he would just school, in high school, but he basically gave his graduation speech and referenced his curly hair as code for being gay. I think. Yep, that was it. Yeah, that was I mean brilliant for one like, what a what a smart way to work around like homophobic policies and still talk about and everyone knows exactly what you're talking about, even though the context works for curly hair. It was so brilliant, but it's also sad that someone has to kind of code their queerness. Yes, really quickly, I brought I'm not going to try and pronounce it, but time being, hello, I have a lot of story. If you're ready for it, very ready for it. I'll try to make it a little shorter. Basically, at the time. Uh there. So there's this college that is very religious. They do not like gay people at all, and the funny thing is it's like half of their half of the people that go to their school are absolutely percent gay and they can't tell because, you know, of course they're all straight little religious people. And so I kind of like headed up a group of gay kids like me and this other this other straight guy. He was kind of like our beard. And so I start dating this one guy. I'm by and he's by. Um,...

...the school gets wind of this kid, takes him in, looks at his phone and finds evidence that him. So let's just call the KID A and my at the time boyfriend had kissed. So they brought Mike, at the time boyfriend, in, he admitted to everything. They kick him out. So then they call on me, call me in and the first thing the lady says to me I kild you, not word for word. Are you gay slash lesbian? Really, I like, and please stop me if I get too long winded because I have too many stories, but I look at her, I laughed in her face, like I am amazed I was not kicked out. But you know, there's this lingo that you can use and Um, I like I knew the rhetoric of how to tell her that I was struggling with, you know, quote unquote, struggling with being gay, and that this little friend group was our way of like living in Christ and bearing our burdens. Then, like, I don't know how I wasn't kicked out. I do not know how, but she just like was listening and then she started listing names of all these kids that she suspected of being gay. And the whole time, like our group had a if you go down, you go down alone, you do not take anybody with you. We had like an honor code, and so every single name she gave me, I was like no, that person is so straight, that person's dating complete lie. And then the the end guy that she brought up, the guy that led the group with me, the straight one. She's like, Oh, is he gay? And I like laughed in her face again and I was like that is the straightest guy at the school. He's currently dating, Blah, blah, blah, and I was like, I didn't tell her...

...was that he would sneak out and like make out with that girlfriend in the parking lot in his car that was completely blacked out so nobody could see, which was against the school policy as well. But just that whole like they went on a complete witch hunt and like nobody gave any names up and it was just those two kids who got kicked out, but that one that I was dating, when I was like she she brought up his name and I was like yeah, you know, I'm dating him right. Unlike the utter shock on her face to that, like to this day, like she will not look at me, she refuses to look at me. But I genuinely don't know how I was not kicked out like I was the gayest little child. I. Okay, last thing and I'll shut up. Okay, okay, Um, at that school, uh, so different the the opposite gender. You could not touch the opposite gender because, you know, like Oh, you're supposed to wait till marriage. So the scary thing is is that that school was a lot looser than what my parents had me under anyway. So because of this, a lot of us who did not realize we were gay realized that we were gay because we were in this we were in same sex dorms, and I mean you've got a bunch of Horny, repressed college students, like not children of age eighteen and above, college students in a dorm. Honestly, they did me a favor because I was able to get plenty of companionship in the dorms. It was great, but I pit don't know how I was never caught. I have a question for you around this too, like, I mean it's looking back at it now, it's almost like a fun story to tell, but when you were living it, like...

...were you? Were you afraid of the schools policies and kind of the ways that they may I don't I don't want to see retaliate. That's a weird word, but like the punishment you might be for if they found out that people actually are lgbt q plus. Were you afraid? Oh, yeah, absolutely, Um, but ever since I was a kid I learned how to get away with stuff because my parents were so Gosh Darn't strict. Right, and I don't think we're allowed to curse here, right, I'm just making sure, but Um, we're best to stay somewhat. I know I heard it and that's why I just censored myself, but anyway, Um, yeah, I knew how to get around that and when I made my friend group, like we made that pact to make sure that if somebody did get caught like that, was the only person that went out and it wasn't just like, Oh, a slap on the wrist, like Oh, a couple de marriors like you got kicked out. They told your parents everything. One of the kids, that the kid a that got caught kissing the guy because he was texting about it. When he went home, his parents told him that he was a terror and he was horrible and like just all these nasty things and then they kicked him out of the House and I remember talking to him and him like absolutely hating like God and religion and just like but almost to a very unhealthy point, which I completely understand. I think that religion gets very tricky. But it was almost to a point where he was harming his own mental health because he was spending so much of his energy focusing on this that he was not able to heal and find a path that was better for him. You know, trauma comes in a sense, anger tends to not...

...be the healthiest way to try and deal with it. No, I understand it why completely, but it was. It was absolutely it was so heartbreaking that a school that professes to love everybody would treat this huge population of their kids like this and that people did feel like they couldn't tell anybody. Um, I knew another girl who was forced to go to Um, you know, the the what they called the camps where you get like retrained or whatever, like the thank you, conversion camps. They forced their daughter to go to conversion camps. Of course it did not work. But then, like, when she got home, she was forced to read the Bible and do nothing but read the Bible, and that was absolutely like she hates God to now. Yes, I first only like that. How do I wear this like that? Amount of religion is not healthy for me, but I have seen people who have used religion in a healthy way in their own life and it's just helped them. and to see somebody hate religion with that much Augusto breaks my heart because it's not healthy. Oh, I absolute, absolutely okay. I have read the Bible more than any religious person I know, just so I can bring up counterpoints to their homophobic views, because the Bible isn't actually against the gay people. People just interpreted that way, because there are plenty of verses defending gay people, and I'm not a chersion myself, I'm an atheist and like I'm just trying to defend. Yet often there are tools specifically for hate that, uh, really shouldn't be used in that manner at...

...one and that one that's like something something michell Motley with a man. It's actually against Pedophelia. So I'm actually not particularly religious either. I kind of believe that there is more than one God, Um, and I've met many, a lot of Christians who have actually read the Bible and read in between the lines and all that and who aren't like homophobic or Transphobic, and it's just really nice to find some people who are like that. It seems sad about it. Is Actually a point that you brought up, and it's some people, you know, they use religion in their own ways to do positive things in their life and then other people ruin that for them, if that makes sense. I mean that is something that actually came up on the PODCAST, because not although he was raised religiously, he no longer practices, and Lauren is that she has kind of all of that history behind her. Now, in some way it like paints someone else's faith in whatever God they believe in. You. That's so sad. Absolutely, and I will say so. where I am there's a lot of churches, but now like a lot of the churches are starting to Um, support the LGBT q community, and I'm sorry I haven't added all the letters Um, but anyway, Um, it just makes me very sad when Christians get very hung up over this and then they can't follow their own rules, you know, like very small things, and I do, I agree. I agree earlier with what I think it's Gig he said with like the Bible and miss, yeah, misconceptions about what the Bible says and getting so lost in this very small thing that they miss all these other issues that really need to be addressed and literal rules that...

...are being broken by being like, I don't know. Thou shall not judge for the same way you judge to be judge, and you mean in terms of people saying, Oh, you're not gonna go to heaven because you're X Y Z right where judgment is supposed to be. U Do not something that people zero. Otherwise they shouldn't judge, but they do. They use their religion to attack, when really that's going against the whole point of their own religion. I wanna turning, turning thirty two, thirty three, and it's like when I was, when I was in public school, I didn't have it was pretty much no one was allowed to be not because of school rules but because of social rules and social norms, where no one was scary, because if anyone was scary. They were socially extracted from the rest of the crowd, which is and that. And now it's actually kind of excepting. Now I knew plenty of gay people in middle and high school. Like I'm at least up there in Alaska. That's that's where. Yeah. Also, can I just say your name, your user name, was very, uh, hilariously anti what we expected when we went to check and it was like all right, who can we add to the stage and we're like this is gigy guy. My name is overly complex and very dumb. Yeah, no, ors, I I also come from some a place with a very dumb user name. I've since changed it. I actually have a story of my...

...own that just happened this past school year. My High School isn't really doesn't contribute to like a particular religion, but since I live in such a small town in like western Montana, there's a lot of homophobia and transphobia. So this past school year me and my boyfriend decided to run for homecoming Queen, uh, for homecoming and prom royal royalty. And this was before he had gotten top surgery, so he was still considered female for some stupid reason, and so both times, for some reason we were chosen as homecoming and Prom Queen and King, but they immediately retracted that both times because my boyfriend was trans and it's still infuriates me, still infuriates me today because just, yeah, yeah, best also male too. There's not only female to male. I got that in reverse for a second, like and Oh my God, his family, what he's told me about it. Could I go back and ask you a question about your experience with being homecoming, loyalty or prom royalty, like what did they say the base site, like, Oh, there's this policy and this is the reason. or how did they how did they justify their action to say no? Well, so, there's a couple of anti trans policies, including, including, like you can't, you have to go into the girl's bathroom if you're you were born female. Um, and one of the things is a girl cannot be uh, cannot be king or Prince. And since there, since there's as separate policy altogether saying that it...

...depending on your biological sex, is how you will be identified in the school system. That Ryan, my boyfriend, was a girl. And Yeah, Oh, are the teachers more accepting? There are some teachers, uh, for example, the health teacher is extremely accepting and referred to Ryan by his proper pronouns. M All of my teachers were really accepting all the healthy students. I never really had to struggle like that in school and I feel bad for the people because it's with an amazing teacher your mind just flourishes. Yeah, so did they? Did you end up? Is that how it ended? They didn't allow you to. Yeah, they chose. Uh. Yeah, they knocked. They knocked us both out of the running and just chose the second uh to who were second to favorites? Was it a vote based on the student's opinions? Yeah, there's this voting system where the person with the most votes uh gets the gets that title, and it's completely shocked me that I was, that I got the most votes, because I'm like one of the UH, lesser known people, but every time I meet someone new I am always kind and I think I've actually met everyone in the school by now and I'm not sure, though. I was just gonna say there was one comment actually that Um, I think it's interesting and it's from grand enthusiasm and it was just explaining that things are very different in the UK, which is something we didn't really talk about in this podcast. We haven't heard from today because everything has been pretty much discussing around like East Alaska or various places.

But it's interesting because, grand enthusiasm said, it's very different. In the UK. Hardly anyone is actually religious. It's usually the very old people that are, and I think that's something that maybe that's here because the United States is so much bigger. I'm sure that's kind of a regional thing as well, but I just wanted to point something you didn't explore. In Alaska, like it's also a regional thing because, like, people here are religious and are very accepting, but their overall like attitude reminds me of Texas. Thank you fathering me to chat, by the way, of course, of course, grand enthusiasm for a second. Okay, I don't mind great sorry for interrupting if I was, but basically, the more no that you get from like London, the worse it is. Fair because it seems it seems like there's no religious folk up there that actually like care about all LGBT. Well, most of them don't. It's usually Um, the younger generation that gets to LGBT. People like stabbins and all sorts like just happen, and it's the problem is in America it's all religion. It's all about religion, but in my country it's more it's like an excuse. If someone's LGBT, they go straight for them and it's it's just an excuse to kind of get the hate out and all the frustrations out on these folks. It's not even about religion, it's it's just awful. Um. Yeah, I think. I think the US is large an opera. I can say this with a little bit more of a thing. Brudence. That's where I lived growing up, was very similar to that experience. Everyone kind of if you were different...

...at all, it was an excuse to make fun of you, but lgbt people were not seeing at all, and that's in the school. Because of that, yeah, you prepared to be ostracized and that uh, what you were saying, uh, were definitely sounded very similar to what happens in small towns like mine, where there is a church on every corner of every block. There's like churches everywhere. You cannot escape them. Oh God, fire churches like religies or something like that. But we don't have one every like mile like that's insane. I've never heard of that before. Is that really a thing in America, with all the churches everywhere? Well, not in Alaska, like I've only seen like two churches in the entire town, at least since small towns in Mone Tanna, in small towns in Montana. Yes, it's just like the Dunkin donuts on the east coast. Like Alaska has a whole separate subculture from the US, though. Yes, that's true. I mean where I am in New Jersey there is, I think, three or four different churches lying up down the street. It's three or four on one street, one on another, like not even half mile away. I am in a smaller town, but it's not like a small small town. It's right next to Fairbay with Alaska. It's it's called North Pole, which is just amazing because there's like a Christmas theme there. But I am in the Bible Belt, so it is called the Bible Belt for a reason. I legitimately think I have about twenty churches within a five mile drive. Then most are the Christians I've even met here are like those light Christians where they're like not super into the Bible and just believe in a God. Really I...

...think that's typically like agnostic or something like not, not not like agnostic. They believe in the Christian God, but like they aren't super hard into the Bible. Where does this all come from? From America, though, like you would have thought that'd be a bit more disconnected from God and all that, like wanting to be your own country. Like it right, left history right, like the entire reason that the first settlers came was really because they were Protestants escaping Um, like the Catholicism, and so protestantism kind of took root. And the entirety, I mean really the whole American ethos, if you want to boil it down, is rooted in this idea of protestantism. And, like I am my church Um. That's kind of where we get this very American like individually, the American dream per se exactly, like it's it's everyone out for themselves, freedom of the individual, and that's all very protestant. There's also, if you're curious about the history, I think the uh it's called the moral majority, which is absolutely not moral or a majority Um, but it is a far right like religious conglomeration of people who have just been trying to do shitty stuff in politics for the last fifty or so years. Up Pretty helpful. I mean they've kind of been succeeding, because I'm for as long as I've lived here, as long as I've been alive. Uh, it's kind of country has kind of gone a little downhill, in my opinion. Yeah, don't say that too loately, government. I really could care less if the government is watching. They know what they did.

Why is it whenever we get it? Why is it whenever like the U S gets a new president, they're either solely focused on economics or solely focused on social climates, and neither and never vote. It's never vote. It's it sells well as a certain riffs. Honestly, why can't they just do both? I think three, Oh ones, Mike is working now. I see them turning it on and off. Three one. Did you want to say something? UH, yeah, hello, Um, kind of happy. It's like, yeah, the same sex marriage and adoptions, but yeah, I think it's specious. Nothing to ramp up here. Yeah, slowly thoughts as well. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, God, we have a similar situation with more nest than you go. The more conservative, consivative it becomes so once you reach the Ukrainian bility. You can basically expect you know, it's weird about Alaska. It's both conservative and non conservative. Not that there's two groups, it's that it's conservative when it comes to economics but nonconservative when it comes to social climates. I can see how that can happen. Um, but I and I hate to cut off an interesting conversation, Leavi or do either. I only wanted to say thank you very much to everyone who shared their stories about their own experiences. Um. I think it's so important to also hear from, you know, people who don't have as much media representation as an oak or or Lauren or they become high profile, and I just love that you all shared them because they all matter and they're also impactful and I think they really show the fight is definitely not over, no matter what your high profile or you're not, that you're constantly everyone is constantly favor acceptance and awrence and, beyond that, just equality. So...

I really wanted just to say thank you to everyone who joined us today for this conversation. I'm sorry that I didn't have any, like any extreme stories. I never really that was scrimination in my life, but great hearing hearing it. Yeah, absolutely, because it's unique too, and that you know you're not as attached to the continental us because you're up in Alaska. That was a great perspective to have, Um, in this conversation. So I thank you for that too. I want to say thank you too. Y'All are amazing. I loved our chat last time. I'm excited for our next one and, just echoing what Levi said, really really appreciate all of you sharing your stories and our next episode drops on Friday. Um. This episode is about playboy. We're working to see if schedules work to see if we can have a reddit talk around this one, Um, and we will keep you posted on that. That would be next Monday, if it happens, TVD and then we definitely the following Friday. Our following episode is a revisiting, Um, of what leave I was saying earlier, revisiting the Queer History of pirates, specifically looking at to Um, potentially lesbian pirates. The history is a little wonky, but um that the signs point to uh, to that, and so we will definitely kind to be a great one. Yeah, I'm so excited. Can I share one last thing. We're backing tomorrow. Yes, okay, but, like I feel, the reason why there's few where there's why there's few homophobes in Alaska, is that most of our culture is defined either by natives for the younger generation, which is more capable to lose there. That makes sense. Like the native culture has nothing to do with yet at all. No, it's just all about nature. YEA tends to be more tied to a certain religious groups. That's so. And...

...and when it comes to the younger it's either older people who live here and are really detached from the US because they've lived here for so long. They don't go into the lower forty eight political climate. They really only cared about what the hill is happening with Alaska, the younger people who live here, which are the people who have been flocking here mostly. They're more capable to live here because their body is more capable to withstand the climate, and most of them are not homophobic. As you can see, most of the people who are non homophobic are of the newer generations. I thank you. Yeah, and and just to just a shameless plug, in last season of pride we had a really great series on I think it was four episodes, Levi correct me if I'm wrong, but on the queer history of the United States specifically and the whole first epid I think there's six. There's a bunch, there are a lot and the whole first episode covers, you know, indigenous communities in the United States and how historically they've been so much more accepting of gender, of various gender identities, very sexualities. If you have time to give it a listen, I highly recommend it's a really, really good series. I can't wait until we see you guys again. Honestly, yeah, we're really looking forward to it. Thanks everyone. Thank you too. Yes, thanks everyone,.

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