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Full Interview with C.F.HHS

Amophrast's picture

This is the full text of the interview I conducted via Skype chat with a female-identifying freshman at Haverford High School.

The general interview:

[3:21:53 PM] Amophrast: So I'm going to give you my intro message again even though i already said most of it

[3:22:49 PM] Amophrast: Feel free to talk openly and freely about yourself and your experiences. This information will be published on Serendip, a website that is publicly accessible, but at this point or any point in the future you can choose an alias to go by or request that certain information or excerpts is/are made private

[3:22:58 PM] Amophrast: do you have any questions before we begin?

[3:23:15 PM] C.F.HHS: nope

[3:23:59 PM] Amophrast: do you wish to use an alias, abbreviation, or different name for the purpose of this interview?

[3:24:26 PM] C.F.HHS: nope

[3:25:03 PM] Amophrast: ok.

[3:25:36 PM] Amophrast: How do you perceive of the environment at Haverford High School?

[3:27:24 PM] Amophrast: think of it as a kind of campus climate report--either in regards to bullying, freedom of gender expression, availability of safe spaces, other issues revolving around LGBTQ youth or individuals involved with LGBTQ issues

[3:34:23 PM] C.F.HHS: I find it decently peaceful. It's laid-back and everyone goes about minding their own business.

[3:36:29 PM] Amophrast: have you witnessed or experienced bullying that is targeted towards queer individuals or appropriating derogatory slang to non-queer individuals and objects? (i.e. that's so gay, etc)

[3:40:22 PM] C.F.HHS: I've never seen anyone bullying someone else specifically for being queer, but I have heard people call anything they don't like 'gay' or a 'fag' countless times; they're insults that seem to have engrained itself into the vocabulary of a lot of teenagers.

[3:41:46 PM] Amophrast: Do you ever see people react to this kind of talk? Either silently, or talking back to the individuals, or talking to others against it?

[3:43:09 PM] C.F.HHS: No, I haven't. It's just something that's passed off as another insult. I haven't seen anyone outwardly offended by insults like those.

[3:44:33 PM] Amophrast: what do you see as the role of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in HHS?

[3:49:46 PM] C.F.HHS: To act as a safe spot for anyone who's have a hard time or wants to support and get involved in the gay community.

[3:53:21 PM] Amophrast: what kinds of activities or discussionis should this include?

[3:55:40 PM] C.F.HHS: To act as a safe spot for anyone who's having a hard time, or anyone who wants to support and get involved in the gay community. I think that there should be discussions about gay news and whatever's happening then, and, if it's a less-than-pleasant situation, what action could be taken against it.

[3:56:48 PM] Amophrast: do you think they achieve this goal?

[3:58:34 PM] C.F.HHS: Yes, I do. Every meeting there's a discussion about what's happening in the gay community, and what can be done.

[3:59:27 PM] Amophrast: do you know what sorts of things they have been discussing lately? when you say gay community, do you refer to the high school, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the US....?

[4:05:22 PM] C.F.HHS: Lately, there have been discussions about politics, suicides, and anything in between. When I talk about the gay community, I'm referring to the US.

[4:06:28 PM] Amophrast: Is there any work or activism that you wish was being done at HHS? Conversely, is there work being done that you think  is hurting students rather than helping them?

[4:11:02 PM] C.F.HHS: I think that fundraisers for equality organizations could be set up, and other such activities. I don't see anything that could be hurting any students.

[4:12:44 PM] Amophrast: For you, what is the most effective form of advertising or encouragement to acknowledge the sorts of issues you mentioned? Statistics? Anecdotes? Posters?

[4:13:35 PM] Amophrast: Are things such as statistics empowering, and encourage you to act, or are they just depressing and end up uneffective?

[4:16:34 PM] C.F.HHS: I think that posters are a good form of advertising if they're eye-catching enough to make someone stop and read them. I also think that something in an anouncement would prove to be useful, too. Statistics can go either way for me, I think; presented a certain way they can be meaningless, but if used effectively they can be empowering.

[4:19:02 PM] Amophrast: Do you feel that you have had access to sufficient resources regarding gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, etc?

[4:19:30 PM] Amophrast: And have these resources been through the GSA or on your own, the internet, etc?

[4:22:23 PM] C.F.HHS: I do feel that. All of my resources have been through the Internet, on support sites and the like.

[4:23:27 PM] Amophrast: If you could implement or request any specific programs or workshops at HHS, what would they be?

[4:25:13 PM] C.F.HHS: Something to educate people and let them know that gender and orientation isn't as black-and-white as just male and female. I feel like not many people know of the gray shades.

[4:27:06 PM] Amophrast: would this be in the format of an assembly the whole school should attend, a large meeting done after school with the GSA, a poster campaign, other?

[4:29:42 PM] C.F.HHS: I think that a large meeting would be the most effective. I feel like a large assembly wouldn't be good because it essentially forces people to listen; a meeting for anyone interested after school would be more personal and much more helpful.

[4:31:00 PM] Amophrast: do you see this as something the GSA should run and facilitate, or bring in an outside group or educator?

[4:33:04 PM] C.F.HHS: An outside group or educator would be best, in my opinion. The GSA only knows so much, but someone who has studied and researched these topics would have much more knowledge and experience.

[4:36:12 PM] Amophrast: would there be any specific topics you would like to see addressed, i.e. asexuality, trans*, gender fluidity, etc?

[4:40:29 PM] C.F.HHS: Anything people aren't used to encountering or uneducated about would be worth teaching, or just generally how not everyone is a 'he' or a 'she.'

[4:40:57 PM] Amophrast: alright, thank you


My input, moving towards a less formal interview

[4:44:06 PM] Amophrast: i feel like there were more issues when I was in high school, or maybe it was just that i ran into it more with working with the GSA

[4:44:33 PM] C.F.HHS: meh

[4:44:48 PM] C.F.HHS: i usually don't hang around too much to know about them, really

[4:45:29 PM] Amophrast: I think it came up a lot around the time of Day of Silence

[4:47:00 PM] C.F.HHS: hm

[4:47:16 PM] C.F.HHS: last year mostly people were just mocking the others who were participating

[4:47:32 PM] Amophrast: at the middle school?

[4:47:40 PM] C.F.HHS: yep

[4:47:48 PM] Amophrast: how many people participated?

[4:48:34 PM] C.F.HHS: dunno

[4:49:07 PM] Amophrast: i mean like more or less than 10?

[4:49:34 PM] C.F.HHS: a lot more than 10, i think

[4:50:03 PM] Amophrast: 20? 30?

[4:50:16 PM] C.F.HHS: not sure

[4:50:35 PM] Amophrast: how would they mock people?

[4:50:53 PM] Amophrast: when i was in high school i heard a lot of pretty offensive remarks

[4:51:05 PM] Amophrast: not off the wall crazy, but very rude

[4:51:28 PM] C.F.HHS: mostly saying that it was useless or whatever

[4:51:38 PM] C.F.HHS: or mocking people who slipped up

[4:51:47 PM] C.F.HHS: 'OMG U TALKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' etc

[4:52:44 PM] Amophrast: were there any follow up discussions or a breaking the silence party?

[4:53:23 PM] C.F.HHS: no, it was just people being quiet for the day\

[4:53:40 PM] C.F.HHS: any sort of anything like that is pretty nonexistent in the middle school

[4:54:39 PM] Amophrast: do you think something more needs to happen in middle school

[4:54:41 PM] Amophrast: *?

[4:55:49 PM] C.F.HHS: yep

[4:55:58 PM] C.F.HHS: gsa's been talking about going over and talking to kids there

[4:56:16 PM] Amophrast: that's good

[4:56:22 PM] Amophrast: do you think it will be effective?

[4:56:28 PM] C.F.HHS: i hope so


In regards to Haverford Middle School:

[4:59:21 PM] Amophrast: do you think HHS is totally different from the middle school in terms of queer issues?

[4:59:28 PM] C.F.HHS: yeah

[4:59:36 PM] Amophrast: what makes it different?

[4:59:44 PM] C.F.HHS: it actually pays attention to them

[4:59:52 PM] C.F.HHS: the middle school's just like 'okay whatever'

[5:00:47 PM] Amophrast: who's "it"? teachers, students, administration...?

[5:01:07 PM] C.F.HHS: teachers and students, i think

[5:01:13 PM] C.F.HHS: the gsa's proof of that, obviously

[5:01:27 PM] C.F.HHS: and the little 'safe space' things that teachers have hanging up or on their doors or wherever

[5:02:52 PM] Amophrast: do you actually see or experience a difference, or is it just the visibility that didn't exist in the middle school, and that's what made the difference?

[5:03:17 PM] C.F.HHS: i guess the visibility

[5:03:39 PM] C.F.HHS: being the extremely sort of social person that i am, i rarely notice any drama that goes on at school

[5:04:21 PM] C.F.HHS: but the high school in general just has sort of a more laid-back personality

[5:05:11 PM] Amophrast: what contributes to that personality?

[5:06:12 PM] C.F.HHS: with its rules (or lack thereof, in some parts), it treats more mature students as more mature students, as do the teachers

[5:06:39 PM] C.F.HHS: no-one cares about some things that you'd be berated for in the middle school

[5:06:46 PM] Amophrast: like what?

[5:07:25 PM] C.F.HHS: chewing gum, texting/having your cellphone out in class, eating in class, cursing

[5:07:40 PM] C.F.HHS: the teachers don't really seem to care if their rules are broken, either

[5:07:46 PM] C.F.HHS: at least some of them, to an extent

[5:07:52 PM] Amophrast: hmm

[5:09:21 PM] Amophrast: do you think that there's anything gender/sexuality related that's different in that regard?

[5:09:35 PM] C.F.HHS: not sure

[5:10:08 PM] C.F.HHS: i think that it's mostly ignored, besides the ever-so-common insult of 'fag'/'gay'

[5:10:26 PM] C.F.HHS: but i'm not sure if anyone really cares

[5:10:31 PM] Amophrast: are the insults addressed by students or other teachers?

[5:10:38 PM] C.F.HHS: nope

[5:10:55 PM] C.F.HHS: it's pretty much become a regular insult

[5:11:22 PM] Amophrast: do you see it as a problem, or does anyone else you know see it as a problem?

[5:11:47 PM] C.F.HHS: i don't think so

[5:12:26 PM] C.F.HHS: it's lost its meaning as 'a person who is not heterosexual' and transformed into just a normal insult, like 'lame'

[5:14:21 PM] Amophrast: keep in mind that the word lame is associated with people with disabilities

[5:14:57 PM] Amophrast: and carries a similar pang to some as the word fag does

[5:15:32 PM] C.F.HHS: for the most part, though, it's pretty much been separated and given the meaning of just 'stupid'

[5:15:44 PM] C.F.HHS: because 'stupid' in itself is much too boring

[5:16:29 PM] Amophrast: but there are so many other words the world has to offer

[5:16:38 PM] Amophrast: even outside of english

[5:16:46 PM] C.F.HHS: yep

[5:16:59 PM] C.F.HHS: none of them seem too appealing to people right now, though

[5:17:46 PM] C.F.HHS: teenagers, at the very least

[5:17:51 PM] Amophrast: what if that itself was a campaign?

[5:17:57 PM] C.F.HHS: that would be great

[5:21:57 PM] Amophrast: what exactly would be the definition or the context that you hear gay/fag used in the most?

[5:22:19 PM] Amophrast: like is it always that's so gay, meaning that's stupid?

[5:22:25 PM] C.F.HHS: mostly, yeah

[5:22:31 PM] Amophrast: or you're a fag meaning you're an idiot or you're crazy?

[5:22:43 PM] C.F.HHS: pretty much

[5:22:58 PM] Amophrast: but i mean give other examples

[5:23:25 PM] C.F.HHS: i dunno

[5:23:56 PM] C.F.HHS: can't think of anything else

[5:24:37 PM] Amophrast: what i mean is, when people say "that's so lame" they don't usually mean "that's so disfigured" or "that's so crippled"

[5:24:45 PM] Amophrast: they usually mean that's boring

[5:25:31 PM] Amophrast: so thinking in terms like that, what would be synonyms for gay/fag? (as separate words, if you consider them as adj/noun respectively)

[5:28:47 PM] C.F.HHS: stupid/idiot in general

[5:29:47 PM] C.F.HHS:

[5:30:58 PM] C.F.HHS: anything that isn't expressively hurtful to any given group of people

[5:31:30 PM] Amophrast: debatable, but i mostly agree

[5:33:30 PM] Amophrast: I guess trying to bring words like muttonhead back into modern day slang might not work so well?

[5:33:47 PM] C.F.HHS: hm

[5:34:01 PM] C.F.HHS: it'll teach people to be creative?

[5:37:28 PM] Amophrast: "you're such a fag"

"well you're an imbecilic muttonhead"

[5:39:27 PM] C.F.HHS: oh yes

[5:41:53 PM] Amophrast: "your shirt is SO gay"

"yeah? well your shirt is cantankerously revolting"

[5:42:06 PM] C.F.HHS: hell yes

[5:43:38 PM] Amophrast: do you think something like that would actually work, or at least make people think?

[5:43:50 PM] C.F.HHS: it'd make people think, at the very least

[5:45:01 PM] Amophrast: but do you REALLY think it would? or you just hope it would?

[5:45:22 PM] C.F.HHS: maybe a bit of both

[5:46:07 PM] Amophrast: well pass imbecilic muttonhead around

[5:46:24 PM] Amophrast: it's better than dumb, lame, retarded, or gay

[5:46:30 PM] C.F.HHS: yep

[5:47:41 PM] Amophrast:

[5:49:21 PM] C.F.HHS: you are such a 404