When yearbooks were distributed at Atascocita High School earlier this month, some parents were outraged to find that a page had been dedicated to some of the Houston area school’s LGBT students: The spread highlighted four queer students, including photos and coming-out stories set against a rainbow-colored background.
While the yearbook staff added the section to be more inclusive, bigoted parents blew up on an online forum Atascocita.com, leveling threats and insults at Editor-in-Chief Kyle Armour, a recent graduate.
“People were saying he was dumb, not smart, that I should not be proud of who he is,” Kyle’s mom, Kimberly Hicks Armour, told the Houston Chronicle. “I’m very proud of who he is. He did take a stand and make something diverse for the community and to our school.”
User SteelerNation said the section was insulting because it felt like LGBT students were “jamming their crap down our throats!”
lynnsgirl added: “We can’t pray in school but now we have a section strictly dedicated to the gay community explaining how, when and why the came ’out.’ 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
Natalie Mendoza, one of the students featured in the feature, said that reading through the parents’ comments made her sad. Users not only criticized her coming out story, but also her yearbook quote, “I can turn your girl.”
“My friends know my sexual orientation and love and respect me regardless,” Mendoza said. “There was many immature and ridiculous jokes, but mine… stood out due to my sexual orientation.”
Other parents attacked a student whose yearbook quote read “Viva Mexico.” SteelerNation wrote, “Hope they self-deport, that crap does not belong in a USA yearbook.”
someone go grab your parent. pic.twitter.com/KhwFrhpzqW
— Lauren (@laurmartinezz) May 22, 2017
Students took to Twitter to express their anger, with many condemning parents for spewing hate anonymously.
If you're going to go on the internet and say talk badly about people you need to provide your full name and not hide like a coward
— Kyle too real Armour (@kyle_r_armour) May 23, 2017
I am proud of my school and the fact that we are accepting of everyone. I am proud of our diversity and inclusion.
— alexia* (@alexiathomas_) May 23, 2017
Atascocita high school is trash end of story. Let people be who the fuck they TRULY are, if not then burn tf down
— potheadaj ️ (@trrvps0ul) May 23, 2017
Though yearbook advisor Kevin Tatum has been restricted from speaking to the media, a spokesperson for Humble Independent School District said the yearbook should have been more “thoroughly vetted prior to publication.”