(Tahlia Amanson)

By Tristan Regenold

In the last two months, there have been multiple Instagram accounts created surrounding the homophobia, racism, and sexual harassment experienced in the Tam community. @lgbtattam was specifically intended to serve as “a space for LGBTQ+ students and alumni of Tam High School to share their experiences with homophobia and transphobia,” according to the account’s Instagram bio.

 Given the nature of homophobia and transphobia, many sources have elected to remain anonymous. The Tam News has respected this request to allow these sources to speak freely.

The profile was started by a Tam graduate and has been handed off to a current student who would prefer to remain anonymous. “I can’t speak exactly for why they started it, but for me at least, it was inspired by the other accounts we’re seeing of experiences at Tam as a woman or as a person of color,” the current owner wrote. They went on to explain that was necessary for many social groups to be aware of homophobia and transphobia at Tam. “There is a deep culture of intolerance for LGBTQ[+] people that I’ve certainly fallen victim to as well, and it felt right to have an open platform for people to talk about it,” the current owner wrote.

The current owner of @lgbtattam has tried to supply a safe space for LGBTQ+ students and alumni to share their experiences.

 Current and former Tam community members can use an anonymous Google Form to submit their stories where they are then uploaded onto Instagram by the account’s owner. 

 “When I realized I was gay, a couple of days after in my history class when I heard someone talk about something gay-related, my vision started going black because my heart was beating so fast from fear,” an alumnus from the Class of 2020 wrote for @lgbtattam.

“I shared my experience with homophobia and it felt really good to get off my chest. I definitely think @lgbtattam provides a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community,” an anonymous student said.

The current owner also represents the LBGTQ+ community within other local organizations including the Gender Sexuality Alliance. “I’m also in contact with Tam GSA and the Spahr center [Marin County’s only nonprofit organization devoted to supporting the LGBTQ+ community],” the current owner wrote. 

As of October 6, Tam is the only school with a public forum specific to LGBTQ+ students. The account has quickly grown in popularity since its first upload on August 1. “There was a huge wave of submissions and DMs the first week,” the account owner wrote. They uploaded 25 stories on the first day of the account’s existence. Now, @lgbtattam has 102 posts as of November 9 and nearly 300 followers. @lgbtattam intends to provide a place for both the queer community to confide and other students to be educated.

“I’m not completely sure if the creator is a full-fledged activist, but I know they care a lot for their LGBTQ[+] peers and wanted to create a safe space just for them,” the current owner wrote. Concurrently, other students across the Marin high schools started accounts for racial advocacy and sexual harassment awareness including @bipoc.of.marin and @metoo.marin.

@lgbtattam implements a chance for the queer students to learn as well. “It’s also educating people who are LGBTQ[+] who maybe weren’t aware of other kinds of discrimination happening to people of different sexualities or genders,” the current owner wrote. The owner pointed out that some LGBTQ+ students are possibly discovering that they’ve experienced and tolerated homophobia unconsciously. 

“I’m out and I always hear people using gay as an insult. I don’t think anyone’s targeting me personally, but that doesn’t make it okay and people don’t realize the effect it has on others. Stop saying it like a bad thing,” a student from the Class of 2022 wrote for @lgbtattam. 

The goal of @lgbtattam is to provide a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. Some could assume that homophobia and transphobia don’t exist in Marin County, but according to many personal accounts from @lgbtattam, that assumption is mistaken. Those who have posted to the forum imply these topics are less talked about. According to their experiences, homophobic remarks are commonly brushed under the rug. “It’s [the account] important because it gives a platform for LGBTQ[+] voices that has never been available and our school community really needs,” the current owner wrote.