College student threatened with homophobic slurs urged to ‘stay quiet’ by university
A student at South Dakota State University has received homophobic threats after hanging a rainbow flag on his dorm door.
Days after the presidential election, the student hung the flag up to “improve my mood by decorating a bit.”
The flag was not to make a political statement, explained the student who shared his story on reddit under the user name RussianSkunk.
However, after putting the flag up he said a series of homophobic slurs were left on a whiteboard hanging outside his bedroom.
Somebody wrote “kill yourself, f*ggot” and another wrote “fagistan”.
The student, known only as Tanner, said that in the past penises, swastikas and swearwords were written on his board but he dismissed them as “chuckleheads”.
While there are plenty of cowboy boots, Confederate flags and MAGA hats around here, I didn’t expect anyone to take offense to my display of LGBT pride,” he explained.
It was unpleasant, but no different from anything I hear on Xbox Live or half the Internet,” he said of the latest insult. “So I took a couple of pictures and erased it.”
Tanner said that he posted the pictures of the whiteboard on Facebook, and some students began to support him. However, more messages kept being left on the board which pushed him to report the incidents to his floor adviser.
The adviser notified the local police, and the newspaper ran an article about it.
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The student claims that the university contacted him and asked him to stop sharing the slurs online because they were “afraid of bad PR and losing donations.”
However, the article got picked up by papers across the state which made it virtually impossible to stop.
“I was kind of panicked, because I didn’t think anyone would even care about some dumb messages on my door,” he wrote. “We know that this sort of thing happens to the LGBT community all the time, bigotry is nothing new. I was mainly worried about the school getting upset at me for drawing attention to them.”
Despite the homophobia and alleged attempt at a cover up by the university, RussianSkunk has said that students and staff have provided support for him.
Even a Trump supporter reached out to him in a letter, in which he wrote: “I wanted to reach out to you because, as a member of the human race, I’m disgusted by the way you were treated. I may hold very different political beliefs than you, but I still respect you greatly. As a person, I love you.”