Three Vancouver high school seniors have been suspended after creating a so-called “gay list” of their classmates, News 1130 reports.
The list allegedly named 100 seniors at Eric Hamber Secondary School. Titled something similar to “The biggest fags at Eric Hamber,” it was circulated in a private Google doc and shared to Snapchat.
“This kind of outing is not benign,” says Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, executive director of UBC’s Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre, adding that some of these students are likely still in the closet. “They haven’t yet disclosed their identity to others. It may be because they don’t feel safe. So having that identity disclosed publicly may put them in danger.”
An unnamed source says that rather than trying to out people, the list’s authors were probably using homophobic slurs to stigmatize both gay and straight students.
Regarding students who may have been misidentified as gay, Saewyc explains that it’s still hurtful to see anti-LGBTQ slurs used as an insult. “We need to push back against corners of our communities that still encourage the kinds of hateful speech that can then role model for young people that somehow it’s okay to do this,” she says.
“A list of members of the school community, containing inappropriate content, was circulated,” the Vancouver School Board tells CTV News. “As the matter is further assessed, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken in addition to ensuring students and staff receive the supports they need.”
Sophie Klassen, a student reportedly named on the list, says that she and other students responded to it by hanging up Pride flags in the school’s hallways.
“Hamber is not a bullying community,” she insists. “I’m sorry that this had to happen, but I really think this is a good educational experience for people. There’s a lot of positivity that can come out of it.”