Agender student collects Hush Day hearts, receives support, opposition


This year’s Hush Day proved to be unpopular among many students, some girls refused to take hearts, some boys respectfully left girls alone and some were thoroughly involved in doing their part to crush the traditional gender roles and sexist traditions demonstrated in the schools’ Valentine ’s Day game. One student in particular rose above the expectations of Hush Day.

Senior Oli Anderson identifies as agender and outside the gender binary, meaning they are neither male nor female. Anderson prefers he/him and they/them pronouns.

Throughout the day, Anderson collected 19 hearts.

“I was kind of arguing against a lot of points about the day,” Anderson said.

The whole idea of Hush Day seemed to allude to the concept of virginity, and Anderson felt strongly against it.

“It perpetuated the idea that girls have one thing to give away and boys are always trying to take that,” Anderson said.

Anderson was disgusted by the way many males stole girls’ hearts.

“I heard about boys harassing girls for their hearts,” Anderson said. “They invaded their spaces and some just ripped hearts off of girls’ chests.”

Anderson  asked consent each time they took a heart. They asked politely and left people alone if they weren’t ready to give their hearts away or simply didn’t want to.

At the end of the day, Anderson, like many others, went to go turn in their hearts for the drawing, and ran into some trouble.

“I went in there and put my hearts in the boys’ box,” Anderson said. “A girl saw me do it and put them into the girls’ box, so I went and took them out and returned them to the boys’ box.”

Anderson said they received many nasty looks, and many people assumed that they had cheated. They frequently got misgendered and judged.

“I doubled this up with a sociology project to break a social norm so at the end of the day I spread out all my hearts to take a picture for the assignment and some people said things like, ‘you’re a girl, you can’t collect hearts,’” Anderson said.

Though Anderson received a lot of negative feedback from collecting hearts, they also received quite a bit of support.

“A lot of girls and other gender non-conforming individuals gave me their hearts,” Anderson said. “I got some encouragement from boys, too. In first hour when I collected about eight hearts some boys gave me encouraging comments.”

Anderson took people’s negativity against them with a grain of salt.

“People don’t really know better,” Anderson said. “this is a pretty conservative location and a lot of people just aren’t even aware of gender non-conforming people.”

Administration was baffled by the incident and was confused about how to respond to the situation.

“I was asked if I could make it “fair” by taking away my hearts and entering one in the male box and one in the female box, even though I clarified that I identify more strongly with the male side of things,” Anderson said.

Ultimately, Anderson did not win the competition, but that did not mean they did not make a statement.Anderson knows most people just aren’t very hip on the subject and don’t know exactly how to treat people like them.

“I’d ask people to enlighten themselves and become less judgmental,” Anderson said. “The people aren’t necessarily bad, just ignorant.”