Long before Haven, led by Glenda and her friends, found themselves in a national spotlight, Amy Scott came to APU not yet understanding their identity. Within a year of their time there, they would realize they was not straight, and that this part of their identity was a threat to the fabric of APU's conservative evangelical culture. This also meant, the culture was a very real threat to their fledgling community being formed in the wake of Soul Force's Equality Ride. That event would embolden two students to take a stand against the school's anti-LGBTQ policies, and it would give Amy a sense of purpose for themself. They would go on to be an activist with Soul Force, staging protests against the military's so-called, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule and the barbaric treatment of LGBTQ students at APU.
I distinctly remember watching Amy from afar, deciding just how I wanted to make it known that I was an ally. The posts on the infamous Door of Discussion were getting campus-wide attention thanks to two students who identified as gay, and there was pressure for all faculty to toe the evangelical line. But once the door had been opened, pun intended, the choice was clear to me. I couldn't just hide behind my role as English professor. I had to pick a side, and I knew I had to pick the right side. When students soon after started the Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), they asked me to be a part of it, and I jumped in. Abbie and Liz's and Glenda's episodes tell those stories.
But Amy and their friends were all alone, in a much more scary time for them. Whereas Glenda described Haven's influence on the campus which created a kind of "cool" rebellious vibe where straight kids wanted to be involved and often presented themselves as queer, Amy and their friends went to APU at a time where queerness was universally regarded as being an abomination. Students were being expelled, faculty were being fired, and the culture was completely unforgiving to anyone who was queer or queer-affirming. It was extremely rare for me to encounter a student who was not openly hostile to queer people. And yet, Amy and their friends pushed and resisted, sacrificing their sanity and their safety to make change in an impossible setting.
But there were young people watching, and they would continue the fight that continues to this day.
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You can see videos, read Scott's blog, and keep up to date with Scott's book at rscottokamoto.com.https://anchor.fm/scott-okamoto/support