Hannibal LaGrange University is a world of hate, hypocrisy, and ignorance
My experience of hate at HLGU
filed under "Activism"
It may surprise some of you to know that I used to be a card-carrying Baptist. I even made Christian-themed art, and Chrisian-themed music (and was also - briefly - a chart topper on the Christian Industrial charts on Christianmp3.com, for whatever that is worth).
Even during that time, however, I believed that everybody under the LGBTQ+ spectrum deserved love, to be loved, and to not have to deal with hate and rejection for who they are.
I attribute those beliefs to my wonderful mother, who taught me to love first before anything else.
I am giving all this preamble to help you understand the extremely distorted universe I entered when I attended Hannibal LaGrange University (it wasn’t a university at the time, however).
Riley Gaines - an ignorant anti-trans athlete-turned-public-speaker - recently made a visit to my alma mater, and I just found this out a few hours before writing this post.
She was there to spread her usual hate, upset at her failure to secure a win against a trans athlete, and I knew the moment I saw the headline that she’d fit right in at that little slice of hell on earth.
You see, I had a unique experience at HLG. I hadn’t had a chance to really explore my own sexuality, but it didn’t take long to discover that doing so would be a very, very bad idea.
HLG hates LGBTQ+ folk
This is the big one. If you feel this whole thing is one big “TL;DR”, at least read this section.
Also, I’m keeping names out of this so things stay relatively anonymous for folks.
I made my first gay friend my freshman year at HLG. He wasn’t out, but a few of us he trusted knew. He was a wonderful musician, and had a seemingly great relationship with a man who didn’t attend the school.
He also was kicked out within months after being outed.
The moment I encountered this was the moment I realized I had not entered a world of love, but instead a world of intolerance.
I of course heard the usual hate preached from the pulpit for unnatural relationships, but I always tuned that out; after all, not everybody agreed with the pastor on every subject (and my pastor at the time also believed dinosaurs weren’t real, so.. Yeah).
This is the first time I had a personal connection be on the receiving end of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Thankfully it was the last time I witnessed it at HLG.. However, I would go on to make a number of connections to gay men there.
I just had no idea they were gay until we had graduated.
I ran into two of my past roommates at HLG after graduation, and as it turns out.. Both of them are gay!
One I suspected; I walked in on him enjoying some porn, but I honestly didn’t care, and laughed it off, not letting him know I saw what he was looking at.
The other I had ZERO idea about, but he’s now married to a damned gorgeous man, and I’m extremely happy for him.
If they had come out while we were there, they might’ve suffered the same fate as the first in this story, but thankfully they managed to survive the experience.
Of course, that’s not the only thing HLGU hates.
HLG hates non-traditional definitions of masculinity
It won’t come as a shock to anybody, I’m sure, that HLG doesn’t exactly like men doing things they don’t consider manly.
I myself got a talking-to for wearing eyeliner and nail polish, but there’s one thing that just blew me away.
Some guys like to jokingly cuddle; they were doing it as a goof rather than any desire to express affection or share body-heat.
They got absolutely tore into by our “dorm dad”. It became an absolute fire-and-brimstone barn-burner if I recall correctly, and that was the end of that.
Finally, I myself was on the receiving end of.. Well, not a biblical lecture on how to be a man, but some hate from the student body.
You see, I didn’t really get along with most men there.. For obvious reasons. Most of my friends were female, and so I’d hang out with them a lot at one of the girl’s dorms during lobby hours (men aren’t allowed anywhere but the lobby except during special “open dorm” nights that didn’t happen often). I became friends with the dorm mom, as she was from the same neck of the woods as myself.
I knew most folks in that dorm, and tried to be friendly and kind to everybody.. After all, a lot of women there have to deal with really shitty caricatures of “men” that want them barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen (not that there wasn’t a fair share of women there who wanted that life themselves).
Towards the tail-end of my HLGU degree, I got called into the Dean of Men’s office, and was told that a woman had reported me for sexual harassment.
To make a long story short, some women didn’t like me and decided to tell a fake story that I was sexually harassing them as they came in.
Thankfully, I had numerous character witnesses who all advocated for me, so I wasn’t in trouble; I was just told to avoid hanging out there unless I was with a friend.
Let’s get into some that that’s a little more broad and traditional at university though, shall we?
HLG hates the poor
There is a long-standing rule in college/university: If you’re important to the sports teams and/or have a good chunk of money backing you, you can get away with a lot.
If you’re not? Well, better not screw up..
A friend of mine attended HLGU with his girlfriend. They planned on getting married, but weren’t in a rush or anything, and they were spending a fair amount just to attend college.
Then she became pregnant.
This became a huge ordeal culminating in them being kicked out.
You see, premarital sex is against the rules..
..Unless you’re the dean of men’s daughter.
You see, a guy I knew in my dorm was a massive sex-fiend. He “banged” a lot of women at the school, including the dean of men’s daughter.
It was no secret.
It also never went acknowledged.
Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it could easily be inferred that because he was not poor - and has resources and popularity - that he could get away with it.
It wasn’t just premarital sex, however, that was an issue.. And yet not.
A lot of folks on the baseball, basketball and soccer teams got away with drinking, smoking pot and more.. All very much against the rules at HLGU. The worst that seemed to happen was one soccer player was eventually given a curfew.. That apparently wasn’t enforced.
Let’s wind things down with a slow number on this dance, shall we?
HLG hates.. Dancing?
Formal events happened twice a year, but they all had one thing in common: There was absolutely, positively no dancing allowed on-campus.
Dancing was just a bit too risque for the private Baptist college, so there was never going to be any official event that had it.
Thankfully, in dirty-dancing tradition, the students rallied and had an off-campus “Interpretive Movement Event” after every major formal.
During my time at HLGU I don’t recall anything bad happening to the organizers or folks attending, but I do know that some administration staff felt it necessary to attend these unofficial events to make sure nothing TOO untoward happened.
I even remember seeing some folks get accosted for looking like they might be a little too friendly with each other.
It was just.. Absurd.
I feel like they didn’t bother punishing anybody because - if they did - they’d be punishing at least 50% of the student body, if not more.
Anyway, that’s all I have to share about my experiences at HLGU. These are by no means the only instances of hate I - or my fellow alum - experienced, but the one that immediately came to mind as I wrote this.