A Culture of Erasure

For the second straight year, the Human Right Clubs mural was erased because it included a Gay Pride Flag and Black Lives Matter logo.

Taylor Ross

For the second straight year, the Human Right Club’s mural was erased because it included a Gay Pride Flag and Black Lives Matter logo.

Taylor Ross, Staff Writer

It happened again.

For a second time, messages of love and acceptance have been removed from Lake Forest store fronts. And it just kills me to see it happen again. Again, my identity has been erased. Again, symbols of justice are erased. It keeps happening over, and over, and over.

The Human Rights Club painted a storefront window on the week of Homecoming. The same day, the store owner received complaints about the BLM and pride flags, and the symbols were erased without the permission of the club. After the symbols were removed, the club decided that the mural did not represent their club anymore, and they took all of it down. Sadly, this reflected what happened last year with the Human Rights Club window in front of Egg Harbor, where there were complaints about pride flags and BLM symbols once more, and the window was taken down.

This has nothing to do with the store owner specifically- this is a culture that has burrowed its way into the soil of our school grounds, our country clubs and golf courses, our Starbucks reserves and Lululemons. This is a culture of erasure.

For as much as I adore some things about this town, the people, the beauty, the events, there is a sick venom that clouds the perfect view this town wishes to have. In our perfect little Lake Forest bubble, the first instinct to anything that challenges our heterosexual cisgender white norm is to erase it, spray it with Clorox, and wipe it clean until it’s a happy little storefront once more.

I can’t stand by and be erased.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I watch my identity get erased every day. I hear kids call their friends “f*****” and other slurs in such casual ways that it passes over the teacher’s head. I hear of tampon dispensers in the men’s room  destroyed and Alliance posters torn down, vandalized, or erased. 

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I could use the confidential reporting tool, but what will happen? A slap on the wrist and a parent phone call will make sure their child is still able to participate in their activities, and any evidence of their bigotry is erased from their permanent record.

I wish there was an easy solution to all of this- I wish I was able to ignore it all and move on with my life like a normal person. But when this community’s definition of normal is something that contradicts my identity, moving on is a challenge in itself. All I can ask is for people to just be kind. I’m not asking anyone to change their entire world view or stop hatred all together- I just want people to realize that their words can be overheard by others. I want people to acknowledge other’s identities and not erase them to fit in a small world view. 

I want this culture of erasure to end.