Hill hiking in Palm Springs | Photo: Facebook/Michael Hill
A gay high school teacher in Kansas decided to move away after months of harassment and threats.
Michael Hill taught visual arts at Nemaha Valley High School in Seneca, Kansas. He originally came out last October on National Coming Out Day. That’s when the negativity began.
‘Things got ugly,’ he told the Topeka-Capitol Journal. ‘I started to fear for my own well-being.’
He shared some of the letters he received on Facebook, as well as his future plans.
I decided I needed to put these out there because people need to know this kind of ugly hatred still exists in the world…
Posted by Michael Hill on Tuesday, April 17, 2018
On his decision to publish the letters, Hill said: ‘People need to know this kind of ugly hatred still exists in the world [and] only by confronting it can we end it.’
Due to the harassment and threats he received, he decided to leave Kansas and move to Palm Springs, California.
‘Take your gay ideas with you’
The letters contain some truly distressing thoughts.
In the first, signed ‘a concerned patron’, the person outright tells Hill: ‘Homosexuals should not be teaching our kids … they are perverts and predators.’
It continues: ‘You need to be fired and you can take your gay ideas with you. Fags are not welcome in our schools.’
Another one, once again from a ‘concerned patron’, became far more threatening.
‘I know where you live,’ the person wrote. ‘I know a lot about your schedule. You need to watch your back cause I aint [sic] alone. We want you gone queer.’
An unsupportive community
Hill said at first the school was supportive. They gave him medical leave in January. However, after seven weeks of unpaid leave, they told him he had to resign or come back to school.
The event caused Hill severe mental distress and he was afraid to leave his apartment. Police in the town were not able to identify the culprit(s).
‘It was very frustrating, that my option was to pack up and move,’ he said.
Luckily, he added that so far he’s found Palm Springs to be an open and accepting community. It helps that the city has an entirely LGBTQ council.