LGBTQ college students allege discriminatory behavior in Christian schools

When Jayce Dulohery started school at Oklahoma Christian University in 2020, no one knew he was transgender. He had already begun to transform medically and socially, and no one questioned his living in the men’s home in his New Year.

However, when he spoke openly to a resident assistant about the trans that year, the information went up to the school’s administrative ladder, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ.

Eventually, he said, he was forced to live in a private home.

“There is no room for a typical college experience when real discrimination occurs,” Dulohery told ABC News. “It’s not Christian behavior, it’s not loving, it’s not merciful, it’s not compassionate, it’s not from God, it’s harmful.

Duloheri filed a complaint with Title IX against the decision to change his home, and the Title IX panel acknowledged that his home had been changed based on gender identity. It was also found that he was denied entry to a male-only social club on the grounds of being transgender.

However, nothing has been resolved, Duloheri said. Instead, the school offered to pay for the therapy.

Duloheri said the university’s legal team cited religious concessions to Title IX, a federal law prohibiting gender discrimination, as the basis for its activities. This is the only way he can say that the school is increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ people on campus.

He and other LGBTQ students and allies hope that the national debate on LGBTQ discrimination in education will move their movement forward and end the religious concessions of Title IX.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

They also say that these concessions strengthen a particular view of Christianity, which does not reflect the faith as a whole.

‘Legal Discrimination’

Chapter IX and its restrictions state that, in the opinion of the U.S. Department of Education, religious institutions are not required by law to comply with the organization’s religious beliefs. This is true even though the school has taxpayer funding.

Schools are not required to apply for a waiver, however, according to the department, a written claim or “request” may be submitted to ensure that the waiver is legal and approved by the DOE. They must comply with Title IX, except for aspects which are explicitly forbidden by their religious beliefs.

The agency can deny its claim if it does not believe that a school’s activities are within religious principles. The Department of Education said that even if a school has a religious exemption, students can file a complaint against the school for discrimination.

Duloheri says the exemption allows for “legal discrimination” against LGBTQ people.

More than 100,000 LGBTQ students are enrolled in religious colleges and universities across the US, according to the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP), an LGBTQ advocacy group.

According to records on the Department of Education’s Web site, Oklahoma Christians have filed multiple requests for religious exemptions subject to certain conditions.

After the DOE clarified in 2014 that transgender people have the protection of Title IX, the school also filed notices of religious exemptions for certain policies, such as residence and admission. Both allowed.

The letter lists passages from the old and new laws interpreted against homosexual or transgender identities. Churches of Christ is a group of self – governing organizations that share similar beliefs about Christianity.

“Universally, the churches of Christ believe that all sexual relations outside of a heterosexual marriage contract are sinful,” read a 2014 letter to the Department of Education from University President John Distiger.

“Churches of Christ oppose any attempt to change a person’s gender and present it as another sex other than his or her original birth sex, and we will treat anyone who does so as misleading and destructive presence,” deSteiguer said.

The OC does not explicitly bar LGBTQ students from attending.

Other alleged incidents in Oklahoma Christian

Dulohari’s complaint is not the only example of discrimination described by students, teachers and alumni in an interview with ABC News.

A faculty member and a staff member say they have been fired or resigned for supporting the LGBTQ community in any way.

Michael O’Keefe, an art professor at the university for 40 years, was expelled after inviting Scott Hail, a gay and former OC professor and alumnus, to his class to speak at the annual speaker series.

According to O’Keefe and Hail students, Hale spoke about the religious impact and his growing up as a homosexual.

Before the speech he gave a trigger warning and told the students to leave at any time if they felt uncomfortable, Hail and O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe told ABC News that no student had complained to him about the lecture and that he was fired within a week of the speech.

Oklahoma Christian University has rejected ABC News’ request to comment on O’Keefe’s and Duloherry’s allegations.

However, in a memo to staff about O’Keefe’s firing on ABC News, the school said: “Multiple complaints and shared stories from eyewitnesses or others about the inappropriate and graphic language of sexual behavior prompted O’Keefe’s termination of employment.”

The memo continued, “Some of the speaker’s references include telling the class about the history of his genitals being exposed to others.”

The university said in a letter that the decision was not based on Hail’s sexual orientation.

O’Keefe and Haile denied this to ABC News, saying the story “exposing his genitals” was taken out of context when the speaker was discussing an incident at a sleeping party when he was 10 years old. Both said they believe O’Keefe was fired because Hail was a homosexual.

O’Keefe is considering filing an appeal with the university against his firing.

A comprehensive calculation

Calls for change in the OC are not an anomaly.

Students in Christian schools across the country recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education over discrimination they suffered as a result of religious concessions.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Oregon in March 2021, aims to “end the complexity of the U.S. Department of Education’s of the hundreds of taxpayer-funded abuses and insecurity perpetrated by thousands of LGBTQ + students at religious colleges and universities.”

Behind the case is the Religious Exemption Accountability Project.

If the plaintiffs are successful, the sexual and gender minority headline IX complaints at religious universities should be dealt with with taxpayer funding in the same way as complaints from DOE and secular colleges.

Its director, Paul Southwick, says it’s been a long time since this anger started to boil over in places like OC.

“Religious concessions have a significant human cost,” Southwick said. “Exceptions mean that no matter how much harm you do, you are not responsible for it.”

Although DOE is the culprit, students who want to be part of the class process describe the discriminatory behavior at various Christian universities.

The case represents 33 LGBTQ students and alumni from various religious colleges and universities across the country.

“We see LGBTQ + sending students to conversion therapy,” Southwick said. “We see students being expelled, disciplined and removed from leadership positions. We see widespread harassment going on unchecked in some Christian universities.”

He continued, “We see that students who are sexually abused are not allowed to report an attack if it involves someone of the same sex or reveals their gender identity because they may be disciplined when reporting an assault.” .

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, an organization of evangelical Christian institutions, condemned the case as a violation of religious freedom.

“Contemporary concepts of sexuality and gender often deviate from the religious beliefs that pervade all areas of Christian campus life, so Title IX Religious Exemption has been proven necessary,” the CCCU said in a court hearing. Because the group will be affected by the result.

It continued, “The removal of the religious exemption of Title IX, as applicable to LGBT students, will deprive their students of the oxygen that gives them life and religious beliefs, preventing them from teaching and expecting their obedience in the pain of losing federal aid. Major religious beliefs.”

In June 2021, the Department of Justice wrote in a court of law that it would defend the DOE and the waiver. Several petitions have been filed to quash the case.

The DOE rejected ABC News’ request for comment and pointed to the DOJ’s response.

Promise to end abuse of concessions

According to his campaign website, the Biden administration has made a campaign promise to “end the abuse of broad concessions to discrimination.” Opponents of the Title IX omission praised Biden and added momentum to their goal. In 2021, the DOE made it clear that Title IX includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“To be religious is to say that being Christian is anti-LGBTQ,” said Rose Murray, deacon and vice president of the LGBTQ Media Watchdog GLAAD Media Institute.

He continued, “They wanted to claim a common Christianity that could strengthen existing prejudices and prejudices and strengthen and help their discrimination.”

As OC students and teachers continue to work to address discrimination allegations on their own campuses, efforts continue across the country to combat anti-LGBTQ sentiment.

They say the responsibility will help save the lives of LGBTQ students who suffer under such policies.

“People are always crazy about the way the school treats them. Now the ears are paying attention inside and out,” Dulohery said. He said plans are afoot to take direct action against the school from students and peers alike.

“We get attention. We get traction … I hope they see the consequences of their actions.”

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