Newspaper uses April Fool’s Day to make a powerful point about LGBT+ folk trapped with abusive families

April Fool's Day: Newspaper highlights LGBT folk trapped with abusers

A university newspaper has used April Fool’s Day to make a powerful point about LGBT+ students who have been forced to return to their homophobic and transphobic families.

As schools and universities close their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, and lockdowns are enforced around the world, young LGBT+ people are being trapped at home with unsupportive, and in some cases abusive, families. 

The Chronicle, the independent newspaper for Duke University, North Carolina, published an article on April 1 headlined: “Homebound gay Duke students excited to act straight again.”

The article read: “The eviction of students from their housing units allowed an exciting opportunity for LGBT+ students, who were finally able to experience being straight again.

“As these disenfranchised students were told that they could no longer live in perhaps the one refuge from an unloving household, they were forced to change for the better.”

Made-up quotes from students, while entertaining, also highlight the devastating consequences of university closures for LGBT+ students.

Junior “Sean Mendez” is quoted as saying: “I was kinda tired of being gay anyway. People always expected me to be well-dressed and the life of the party.

“I’m looking forward to returning home, where I’m actively harassed for being fashionable or too lively.”

Another “student”, discussed the changes they would have to make to their gender expression.

“Leslie Bean” said: “I’m actually interested in the prospect of performing gender again.

“I haven’t worn a dress in a few years, and I know my dad will throw me to the curb if I try wearing pants to Easter.”

According to The Chronicle, after spring break students were told not to return to campus, and were locked out of their dorms without being able to retrieve their belongings.

In a nod to LGBT+ stereotypes, the April Fool’s Day article said: “Many queer students were unable to retrieve their crop tops and flannels, which would be dead giveaways in the painfully homophobic towns they came from.”

First-year “Denial Sprite” reflected: “When I came back from a wild bender in the Bahamas, I was stunned to discover that I had to go directly home.

“My collection of cuffed jeans, dangly earrings and Fenty make-up palettes would have to wait.

“With my pre-approved home wardrobe, I’ll be looking like rough trade everyday.”