OutFront Kalamazoo has been getting contacted with many harmful and threatening messages


Credit: isabella Figueroa

The entrance to OutFront Kalamazoo. They have been located at 340 S Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 since 2017.

Isabella Figueroa, Chief Copy Editor

Since 1987, OutFront Kalamazoo has been a locally based LGBTQ+ resource center in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their mission is “To create a just, inclusive, equitable, and supportive environment in Southwest Michigan for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and expressions,” as stated on their website

Outfront Kalamazoo´s former employee and alumni of Loy Norrix High School, Clover, made a TikTok for gender affirming products that OutFront Kalamazoo is offering for free. In this TikTok they shared OutFronts contact information including OutFronts email address and their phone number. 

On Jan. 11, a popular conservative online content creator, Jeremy Hambly, who has more than 1.7 million subscribers, reacted to OutFronts TikTok on his YouTube channel called ¨TheQuartering¨. He titled the video “She belongs in prison.” 

While reacting to the video Hambly said,  “To me this seems extremely predatory, especially given the fact that it’s been uploaded to TikTok.” 

“Make sure you leave a like on this video and subscribe, so we can keep bringing these folks to light,” Hambly continued. 

Hambly’s fandom did exactly that: as of right now, the video has 34k likes, more than half a million views and 4.9k comments with almost all of them agreeing with his homophobic statements. 

¨In the old days, these people used candy and panel vans to lure their victims,¨ is one of the top comments.

The commenters did not stop there. Hamlbys fandom has been calling and emailing OutFront Kalamazoo with harmful threats.

Some of the terms used in the messages called OutFront “pedophiles” and “groomers” who “deserved to be locked up” and in more extreme cases put to death. 

  Connar Klock who is the Operations Assistant of Outfront Kalamazoo said that OutFront used a couple different methods to combat the phone calls, 

“We would sort of screen the calls, so we would see any Michigan area codes. We would answer, but anything that wasn’t a Michigan area code, we’d send straight to voicemail and then we’d call them back if they were actually seeking services,” Klock said. “We’d set up our voice mailbox so that all of the voicemails went directly to the email so that we don’t have to do any special finagling with recording them and that so we can easily send threats to the FBI.”

It was also mentioned that anytime OutFront accidentally picked up the phone to one of these threatening calls and didn’t know what to respond with, they would sing to the caller. The Executive Director, Tracy Hall sang Sound of Music and Klock sang Elton John songs. The callers would then get frustrated and hang up. 

In the 37 years that OutFront has been around, the resource center has not experienced anything like this before.  

OutFront Kalamazoo only expects to move forward and use this situation to make it a stronger institution for people in need of a helping hand. 

Chris Aguinaga, principal of Loy Norrix High School, is one of the seven board members of OutFront Kalamazoo and has been for six years. Aguinaga thinks that OutFront Kalamazoo will move past this and see it as an opportunity to grow. 

¨One thing I have learned about our community is that we are incredibly resilient, so while it might be really easy for people to dwell on the negative that happened, we have to make sure those who experienced it are taken care of but then also grow from it. This community does not let a bunch of phone calls deter us from what we are going to do,” Aguinaga said. 

If Aguinaga could say something to the people calling OutFront it would be, ¨If that’s truly how you feel, invest your energy into something that’s going to make change to how you feel instead of putting it on others. Hate never wins: constructive progress is what wins,¨ Aguinaga said. 

OutFront will continue to do the work they do despite this setback.

¨We help everybody from the 80 year old gay guy that’s out in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t know who to talk to, all the way to the parents that are like ´we don’t know how to best support our kids and need your help,´” said Klock.