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Joie St. Hubert

Joie St. Hubert

After growing up in New York City, Joie St. Hubert thought he was ready for a change.

His choir director was an alumni of Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee and suggested that Joie take a tour of the campus. After taking the tour, Joie applied for admission and was accepted with an impressive scholarship package.

“I had absolutely no idea what was going to go down,” Joie admits. “I had no idea what they thought about the LGBTQ community or about the trauma that I would face.”

In December 2020, Joie came out as a transgender man.

“I was scared most of the time while at Lee. I was harassed and called the ‘f slur’ by students. I was scared of getting ‘hate crimed.’”

But fear didn’t stop Joie from speaking out. They became an outspoken advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ equality and sexual assault awareness, eventually amassing a sizable social media following where he posted about activism on his TikTok account.

In 2021, Lee University officials abruptly removed gender identity from the list of protected classes in the school’s student handbook.

It wasn’t longer after that Joie was punished with 40 accountability hours and told to remove two social media posts - one of him with a rainbow flag and another detailing the anti-LGBTQ climate at Lee - claiming it was an “inappropriate use of technological devices.”

When Joie told his TikTok followers that Lee punished him for posting LGBTQ content, the administration requested another meeting – telling him that he could be expelled or suspended if he did not show up.

When he did show up, he was handed a suspension letter. Joie had 24 hours to pack up his things and move off of campus. They didn’t know what to do.

“If my suspension was really for violation of internet policies, then so many other
students would be disciplined for social media content. Lee disciplined and suspended me because I am trans and proud. Lee wanted me gone and they got rid of me.”

Just months after his horrific experience at Lee, Joie joined REAP’s class-action lawsuit – alongside another Lee alum – demanding that the U.S. Department of Education stop granting religious exemptions to religious colleges like Lee that use federal taxpayer funds to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

“I feel terrified knowing that the Department of Education won’t protect me because of a religious exemption to Title IX. It makes me feel so scared that the government does not have my back. Knowing that is scary and sad. The thought of bringing anything to a judge or a government employee as a black trans person almost seems useless. I feel even less than a second-class citizen. It’s absolutely dehumanizing to be treated like this.”

Andrew Hartzler

Andrew Hartzler

During the second semester of Andrew Hartzler’s junior year at Oral Roberts University in January 2020, he received a phone call from the Dean of Students, requesting an urgent meeting.

Andrew arrived at the meeting, with two deans informing him that someone had reported him for “homosexual activity.”

A few weeks before, Andrew had brought his partner, who did not attend ORU to his dorm room. He registered him properly and he did not spend the night.

But even still, the Dean told Andrew that this was his warning. He was no longer allowed to have non-university visitors and would be forced to meet weekly with a dean for the rest of the semester to “hold him accountable.”

“I remember a Dean asking, ‘Why did you want to come to ORU?’ as if she was trying to
figure out why a gay person would go to ORU,” he recalls. “I explained that I did not have a choice in which university I attended.”

Like many LGBTQ students who grow up in religious, conservative households, Andrew’s choice for college was dictated by his parents’ religious beliefs.

As he went to leave the Dean’s office, she asked him to sign a form – which, upon reading it, would have granted the university the right to call his parents to report this so-called incident. Andrew refused to sign.

At his first mandatory weekly meeting with the Dean, Andrew felt like he was back in the conversion therapy program he had been forced into as a child.

“The Dean instructed me to read several verses from the Bible which he referenced while condemning me for my suspected romantic encounters with other men. The Dean pressured me for names and information about other students at ORU who were, as he said, ‘struggling with their identity,’ saying that I was ‘allowing them to suffer in Hell’ if I did not reveal their names so that such students could receive ‘help.’”

Andrew ultimately confided in his parents and was hurt that they took ORU’s side.

“I felt alone. My mind began unconsciously finding itself trapped in dark corners that hadn’t been visited for years.

“It was during this time at ORU that I entered one of the darkest seasons of my life where suicidal ideations clouded my ability to find joy in life. I lost a significant amount of weight, becoming the lightest I have ever been. I couldn’t fall asleep at night and had difficulty finding a reason to get out of bed.

“I think that this experience was even more significant than my time at a conversion
therapy camp because college is highly anticipated, at least for gay youth, as a place
where one can finally be true to themselves and explore one’s sexuality.”

Thankfully, Andrew was able to push through and graduate with his degree in Psychology in May 2021. He now works as a Case Manager at a psychiatric facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He joined REAP’s lawsuit because he is determined to fight for a world where no LGBTQ student suffers the same discrimination, abuse and depression he endured while at ORU.

“I am thankful to be a survivor of Oral Roberts University’s discrimination and harassment on the basis of my sexual orientation.”

Sabrina Bradford

Sabrina Bradford

Either divorce your wife – or give up on completing your bachelor’s degree.

That’s the horrific dilemma Sabrina Bradford faced in 2015, when she was just 12 credit hours shy of finally finishing her bachelors in Social Work at Oral Roberts University, an Evangelical university in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Sabrina had moved to Tulsa in 2005 to move near some distant family members, hoping to create a stable life for her and her child. After struggling with years of minimum wage employment, she knew that the only way she could provide for her family was to pursue her education. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was determined,” she said.

She knew she wanted to pursue Social Work – and after researching, she discovered that Oral Roberts University was the only social work program in Tulsa that was accessible off of the city bus. So her decision was made for her: She would attend ORU to pursue social work.

In 2011, she enrolled in ORU’s social program, taking a full load of courses while still working full-time. It was around that time that she met the woman who would soon become her wife.

“I met a wonderful, kindhearted woman during my journey who saw my passion and motivation to survive. She wouldn't let me become overwhelmed by my conquest for education. She took compassion on me and assisted me when I felt the most alone in this world. She filled the gaps and was my primary support over the next four years.”

Sabrina knew that ORU was not a welcoming school for LGBTQ students, so she struggled to keep her relationship and newfound quiet so that it would not interfere with her education.

In late 2014, same-sex couples secured the freedom to marry in Oklahoma – and Sabrina was thrilled. This was just after her soon-to-be wife endured a terrifying cancer scare, so they wasted no time in getting married. Sabrina and her wife said “I do” in January 2015.

Just as she was planning to begin her final semester in August 2015, Sabrina was summoned to the financial aid office one morning.

“When I arrived that morning, I was interrogated like a criminal and asked to reveal information not on my federal financial aid application,” she remembers. ORU had discovered that Sabrina’s tax documents listed her as legally married to another woman.

ORU wasted no time in putting a hold on Sabrina’s account that prohibited her from registering for classes and that she was not allowed to attend any of her current classes until further notice.

In a meeting with the Vice President of Student Life the next morning, Sabrina was accused of being a “fornicator” – despite explaining in intimate detail that she and her wife had not even been able to consummate their marriage because of her wife’s cancer.

Every attempt Sabrina made to appeal this decision was blocked. “My worst fear had come true; I couldn't finish school. I had a contract with the Oklahoma Department of Human Service for employment upon my completion, which would now be hindered.”

What Sabrina would come to realize is that despite the fact that ORU’s actions clearly violated basic non-discrimination protections afforded to all students, the university was allowed to discriminate because they were granted a religious exemption from the U.S. Department of Education, which permits religious colleges to ignore Title IX protections while still receiving federal taxpayer funding.

In December, Sabrina received an email from the Vice President of Student Life, saying, “We are trusting God that He will work everything out on your behalf including termination of the marital relationship as mentioned in your e-mail."

Sabrina knew immediately: ORU wanted her to divorce her wife in order to complete her degree. Left with no other choice, that’s exactly what Sabrina had to do. Her divorce from her wife was finalized in June 2017.

“I jumped through every hoop possible to try to complete my degree. I did everything O.R.U. asked me to do. It seemed like it was never enough. O.R.U. asked me to remove the pictures of my wife and anything related to LGBTQ or marriage equality on social
media. This included all the news articles and commentary I followed before attending O.R.U. This was part of their conditions to being allowed to continue my classes in Spring 2017.”

Sabrina was finally allowed to complete her degree in August 2017. But the degree came with consequences she never could have imagined: A divorce from the woman she loved, a diagnosis of clinical depression, and a feeling of being robbed of her college experience.

Now, Sabrina is channeling her traumatizing experience into her role as a plaintiff in REAP’s class-action lawsuit, demanding that the Department of Education stop granting the religious exemption that allows schools like ORU to abuse queer students using taxpayer funding.

“I'm still hurt. I'm still affected by this all these years later. I see discrimination enough as it
is. It was my tax money going to O.R.U., and I should have been allowed to attend
without prejudice.”

Kalie Hargrove

Kalie Hargrove

In 2009, Kalie Hargrove enrolled in Lincoln Christian University to pursue a Masters in Divinity – but after two years, she put her education on hold to join the military in order to provide a better life for her wife and child.

After serving just under nine years as a member of the United States Air Force – and receiving an honorable discharge – Kalie returned to Lincoln to resume her studies. She started back part-time in 2019 while finishing her service in the Air Force and then began attending classes fulltime in 2020, determined to finish her degree. This time around, part of her tuition was covered by the Montgomery GI bill, due to her long military career.

But it wasn’t until after she had registered for classes in 2019 that she began to accept her own identity as a transgender woman – and in 2020, she finally began transitioning to live as the woman she knew herself to be.

In August 2021, Kalie received an email from Lincoln administration, accusing her of “choosing to identify and live as a transgender woman,” basing their findings on an assortment of blog posts and academic papers that Kalie had written. Identifying as transgender, according to Lincoln, was a violation of the Student Handbook and constituted a “lifestyle choice that did not comply with our behavioral expectations.”

“Lincoln presented me with a choice,” Kalie recalls. “I could remain enrolled and be referred to
the Disciplinary Committee for further action, or I could drop my classes and no further action would be taken.”

Kalie was shocked – especially because she had already looked to ensure that Lincoln was a Title IX compliant school, which she believed would ensure that Lincoln could not discriminate against her as an LGBTQ student. But what she didn’t realize is that Lincoln is one of 200+ religious colleges nationwide that is granted a religious exemption from the U.S. Department of Education, allowing the school to mistreat LGBTQ students while still receiving federal taxpayer funding.

It wasn’t until Kalie saw news of REAP’s lawsuit that she realized that the religious exemption our case was challenging in court may be the very religious exemption that could allow Lincoln to expel her. “It was an ‘oh, crap’ moment for me,” she says.

To complicate matters, because Kalie’s tuition was financed through the GI bill, she knew she would be expected to repay the government nearly $7,000 if for any reason she could not complete the semester.

Kalie knew that she couldn’t bring herself to stand before the disciplinary committee. “To put yourself in front of a group of people who will look at you as an unrepentant sinner, who reject who you are, that is not a situation I should be in, and I decided not to.”

Ultimately, Kalie decided to drop her classes.

“This was more than just academic discipline for me. You must understand that this is the
tradition I grew up in, 18 years of my life in my parents’ house was being part of this Christian
church, 4 years of bible college at an independent Christian church college. This had been the
sole tradition I had been in for over 30 years of my life. I faced the rejection and censure of not
just the school because the school’s rejection sent a message to my community that somehow I
had failed in, or was not worthy of, my calling to the ministry.”

After leaving Lincoln, Kalie felt desperate and ready to give up on her career in the ministry. Thankfully, as news of her situation grew, another school offered her admission. But all of her credits didn’t transfer – and even with the opportunity of finishing her degree at a new school, she is now scheduled to graduate nearly one year later than expected.

This experience made clear to Kalie that she could not remain silent – which is why she joined REAP’s lawsuit, alongside dozens of other students nationwide, demanding that the DoED stop granting the religious exemption that Lincoln used to discriminate against her as a transgender woman.

“I am still not over the emotional and mental harm. There are a lot of painful emotions that come from being discriminated against. Traumatic experiences don’t simply go away.

“That the government allows and funds this discrimination feels like the government doesn’t see you as a full person. They say they are against discrimination against people, but they allow it against you, so the implication is you are not full people. There is so much in the world that makes LGBT persons feel dehumanized, and the way the Government handles Title IX is just another way we are made to feel less than.”

Rosalyn Simon

Rosalyn Simon

Growing up in a conservative family in Huntsville, Alabama, Rosalyn Simon didn’t have any choice when it came to which college she would attend.

Her parents made it clear that her only option was Oral Roberts University (ORU), an evangelical school in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

While attending ORU, Rosalyn suffered severe depression – and regularly heard students and staff say horrible things about gay students, claiming that LGBTQ students “never should have come here in the first place.”

After graduating, Rosalyn got a job in the enrollment department at ORU, eventually working her way up to Associate Director of Enrollment. It was there that she began falling in love with Joni, who was also employed at ORU and would eventually become her wife.

Working in the enrollment department gave Rosalyn a unique insight into ORU’s mistreatment of LGBTQ students.

All students and faculty at ORU are required to sign the Honor Code, which prohibits same-sex relationships and affirmation of LGBTQ identities – a breach of which would be punishable by expulsion or firing.

Eventually, Rosalyn and Joni knew it wasn’t safe to be out while still employed at ORU, so they quit.

Their experience compelled Rosalyn and Joni to join REAP’s class-action lawsuit, demanding that the U.S Department of Education stop granting religious exemptions to religious colleges like ORU that use taxpayer funding to discriminate against and abuse queer students.

Rosalyn and Joni are now happily married, living in New York City – and hope that by sharing their story and joining this historic case, they can help ensure the next generation of queer students don’t suffer how they did at ORU.

Joni McLeod

Joni McLeod

At 18-years-old, Joni McLeod enrolled at Oral Roberts University (ORU), an evangelical school in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Growing up in a conservative household, Joni didn’t feel like she had much choice in the matter. And as she began grappling with her sexual orientation, she worried that something was wrong with her – and thought that she might be “cured” while attending ORU.

After graduating from ORU in 2016, Joni took a job as the Assistant to the Vice President of Enrollment. She needed the money and felt like she didn’t have any other options.

It was there that she fell in love with her now wife, Rosalyn. But being in love with another woman while employed at ORU wasn’t easy.

“I experienced the worst anxiety I’ve ever had when I was there,” Joni remembers. “But I wasn’t able to get the help that I needed because if anyone ever found out, I would lose my entire
livelihood. I was in constant fear. I was in fight or flight mode.”

That’s because ORU forces its students and staff to sign a strict honor code, which specifically prohibits same-sex relationships under the penalty of expulsion or firing. The pledge reads, in part:

I will not engage in or attempt to engage in any illicit, unscriptural sexual acts, which include any homosexual activity and sexual intercourse with one who is not my spouse through traditional marriage of one man and one woman.

Joni can recall sitting on a balcony weeping during a mandatory chapel service because she was dating Rosalyn, while closeted – as the crowd cheered during a sermon proclaiming that sex and love was so much better inside heterosexual marriage between a
man and woman.

It wasn’t long before Joni knew she was in love – and both her and her wife quit, “because we would be fired if we came out.”

“Religious trauma syndrome would define my time as a student and employee at ORU,” Joni says, explaining why both she and Rosalyn have joined REAP’s class-action lawsuit demanding that the U.S. Department of Education to stop granting religious exemptions that allow schools like Oral Roberts to ignore laws like Title IX and harm their LGBTQ students while still receiving taxpayer funding.

Joni and her wife Rosalyn now live in New York City, where she works as a mental health professional, researching the intersections between trauma and LGBTQI identities.

“I hope for a future where queer students at ORU know that they are valued, accepted, and loved - not in spite of their affectional and/or gender identities, but because of those identities.”

Jamie Lord

Jamie Lord

When Jamie Lord found out that she had received a major scholarship to attend Regent University School of Law, she knew she couldn’t turn it down. But Jamie wasn’t raised in a religious household – and as a lesbian, she worried how she might be treated at Regent, a renowned Christian college.

She was relieved when an official from Regent told her not to worry – she didn’t need to share Regent’s religious beliefs in order to attend the school and there would be no problem with her being a lesbian. Regent, the official said, embraced diversity.

That couldn’t have been further from the truth.

In her first week of classes, Jamie quickly discovered that if she told people she is a lesbian, she would be treated differently. And in numerous classes – while her professors and peers characterized LGBTQ people as pedophiles, child molestors, undeserving of marriage and destined for hell – Jamie was terrified, as she had never witnessed such a hostile anti-LGBTQ environment before.

During her second year, a professor harassed her specifically because of her sexual orientation. At a breaking point, she met with her Dean, who suggested that Jamie talk to the professor – who he described as a loving and caring person she could talk to.

But the professor quickly explained his belief that being gay is a sin and that he did not accept LGBTQ people, including his gay brother. “A teacher told me I would go to hell for being a lesbian and that if I prayed hard enough, God would save me from my sinful ways, ” Jamie recalls.

This same professor then went on to regularly insult LGBTQ people in front of the entire class, ranting that gay people are pedophiles, that you can act straight if you try hard enough, gay marriage should not be called marriage, and gay people should not be able to adopt children. He even referred to LGBTQ people as “the gays” despite Jamie’s repeated requests that he stop.

It soon became clear that this professor wasn’t an isolated problem – but instead, representative of Regent as an institution. Jamie’s reports to administration about the anti-LGBTQ abuse she was facing went unresponded to. In fact, some administrators even reminded her that she could be kicked out of the school if she were to even bring her girlfriend to campus – citing a portion of the student handbook that prohibits dating between people of the same-sex.

Eventually, Jamie couldn’t take it anymore. Her amazing scholarship wasn’t enough to justify routinely hearing from her professors and peers that LGBTQ people like her were going to hell and that her identity was shameful. She became depressed – and felt further from God than she had ever felt.

Now, Jamie is ready to hold Regent accountable – as one of 40 plaintiffs in REAP’s lawsuit demanding that the U.S. Department of Education stops granting religious exemptions to religious schools like Regent that use federal taxpayer dollars to discriminate against and torment their LGBTQ students.

“I hope that future LGBTQ law students at Regent will be spared the abuse and terrors I faced.”

Justin Tidwell-Davis

Justin Tidwell-Davis

In 2001, Justin enrolled in Baylor University at just 17-years-old. As he grappled with his own sexual identity, he was all too aware of Baylor’s history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination – and the specific policies in the school’s sexual misconduct policy that listed “homosexual acts” as an offense alongside sexual abuse, incest and adultery.

Justin’s introduction to Baylor was marked by a constant state of dread and anxiety.

“Would I be disciplined if I went on a date? Held another man’s hand? Shared a kiss? What if someone reported me for doing so off campus or out of town? Would I be expelled? How would I explain that to my parents? Would I be disowned?”

He recalls vividly a Baylor professor erasing a message of support for LGBTQIA+ students, a simple “God loves you” with a rainbow, from the sidewalk by scrubbing it off with his foot. He internalized the message: We will erase you.

Justin was so worried about being outed that, at the encouragement of fellow Baylor students and alumni from his church, he even enrolled himself in a conversion therapy program popular with the church, hoping that it would spare him Baylor’s disciplinary procedures should he ever “get caught” or “mess up.”

His fear and anxieties were confirmed and made worse when the director of the conversion therapy program he attended introduced him a Baylor regent who pastors the church that hosts and funds the program, joking that he'd have to have the regent "keep an eye on him."

He had watched as a gay graduate student was outed and had his scholarship revoked and had spoken with other Baylor alumni who report being subjected to exorcisms by other students, shunned, told they were mentally ill or demonically possessed for being LGBTQIA.

Some of Justin’s friends at Baylor didn’t report sexual harassment and assault because they feared that instead of holding their abusers accountable, Baylor would instead punish them for having been assaulted by someone of the same sex.

Justin continues to feel sadness, anger and pain, not only for his own experiences at Baylor, but in knowing that Baylor continues to harm its LGBTQ+ students and to shape generations of graduates who go into the world thinking it is their right to discriminate against and ridicule LGBTQ people.

It’s why he joined REAP’s lawsuit – alongside his husband Daniel, who face discrimination at Lee University – to finally hold Baylor accountable and stand up for the next generation of LGBTQ students who are facing discrimination and abuse at religious colleges nationwide.

Daniel Christopher Tidwell-Davis

Daniel Christopher Tidwell-Davis

For most of his time as a student at Lee University from 2002-2007, Daniel was closeted.

Lee University policy specifically sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ students and Daniel had heard of far too many terrifying examples of what might happen to him should he be outed as gay. His fear ran so deep that he even joined an on-campus conversion therapy club in hopes that he wouldn’t suffer the same consequences.

“I knew a student who was expelled for having a DVD of the feature film Latter Days, a gay themed movie, in his room. I knew of another student who was expelled for having been seen on a date with another man over the summer when he was at home in another state. I realized that other students were being expelled because they were LGBTQ, and that my participation in the conversion therapy group was a way to keep that from happening to me.”

In his job as a resident assistant, Daniel was forced to search students’ rooms for LGBTQ materials and watch for any indications that students might be in same-sex relationships.

But it wasn’t long before Daniel was a target of harassment himself from the students who were under his watch. During one extreme incident of harassment, Daniel was awakened in the middle of the night by students throwing pool balls at his bedroom door. Daniel laid in bed, crying, hoping they would leave.
After the students persisted, and relentlessly pounded on his door with their fists, he was forced to open his door to confront them. He was met by the ringleader of the group, completely naked, doing a handstand in his doorway with his genitals inches from Daniel’s face, while 8-10 young men stood behind him howling with laughter.

In that moment, Daniel didn’t know if he was going to be assaulted, or if he reported it, if he would be expelled for being gay. He cried himself to sleep that night.

Daniel knew of many LGBTQ and straight victims of sexual assault at Lee who did not report it for fear of being expelled.

Even if he did report it, he knew that the religious exemption granted by the U.S. Department of Education to Lee University meant that the University could legally expel him for being gay. And if he were expelled, he would lose his scholarship and be forced to come out to his hostile family.

Now, Daniel is joining REAP’s lawsuit – alongside his husband, Justin Tidwell-Davis, who faced anti-LGBTQ discrimination at Baylor University - to hold schools like Lee University accountable and ensure that no LGBTQ student ever again has to live in silence, particularly if they have faced sexual assault on campus.

Mortimer Halligan

Mortimer Halligan

When Mortimer Halligan started applying for colleges as a first-generation student, they admittedly weren’t totally sure what they should be looking for.

So they applied to Indiana Wesleyan University – remembering that their church youth group had previously staged an event on campus – they were thrilled to learn they had been accepted.

Once on campus, Mortimer began embracing their queer identity and started working with other LGBTQ students to start a student organization for LGBTQ students at IWU.

But their efforts have been met with resistance from the beginning.

IWU is one of 200+ religious colleges that have been granted a religious exemption from the U.S. Department of Education, meaning that IWU can openly discriminate against its queer and transgender students while still receiving federal taxpayer dollars.
University policy specifically prohibits students from dating someone of the same sex or dressing outside of their supposed gender norms – a violation of which could lead to disciplinary procedures or even expulsion.

Because IWU refuses to recognize their group, Mortimer’s student LGBTQ group is ineligible to receive or even raise their own funds. Their efforts to organize have been met with rampant harassment and scorn from other students and alumni, who have harassed queer students on social media and destructed the group’s promotional materials on campus.

For their safety, the LGBTQ group at IWU meets secretly off-campus. And despite numerous complaints from LGBTQ students about the harassment they have faced, IWU’s administration refuses to take action.

Mortimer’s experiences at IWU have led them to join alongside 39 other LGBTQ students and alumni as a plaintiff in REAP’s lawsuit – calling on the U.S. Department of Education to stop granting religious exemptions to schools like IWU that use federal taxpayer dollars to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

Mortimer’s demand for IWU is simple: “I would like to feel safe on campus.”

Consolata Bryant

Consolata Bryant

Consolta Bryant lives in Colleyville, TX. She is the parent of plaintiff Devin Bryant, who attended Covenant Christian Academy.

“I wanted Devin to attend a Christian school and receive a solid education,” she said. “I expected the school to teach my children about honesty, love and kindness.” But when the school learned that Devin is gay, they expelled him. In a phone call, the Headmaster told Consolata that Devin had chosen an evil path and that he was not welcome. The Headmaster later sent a statement to the entire school publicly shaming Devin and his sexual orientation.

“I am participating in this lawsuit because my child was discriminated against by his school for his sexual orientation,” Consolata said. “I do not want this to continue happening to other students or any other person. All schools, which are given responsibility for children, should not harm or discriminate against them on the basis of race, sexual orientation or anything else that makes them a unique child of God.”

She is raising her voice to protect all LGBTQ+ students at Covenant Christian Academy and religiously affiliated colleges across the country.

Devyn Bryant

Devyn Bryant

Devyn Bryant lives in Colleyville, TX. They identify as queer. They have been a very engaged student, participating at school as an athlete in cross county and track, playing basketball, and performing in school musicals.

Devyn attended Covenant Christian Academy as a pre-K student and continued until August 2020, when they were expelled. After coming out as queer during their junior year, they met with school administrators repeatedly, who said it was their priority to keep Devyn in school. They asked Devyn to not disclose their sexual orientation publicly and to refrain from dating in and out of school. When a new Headmaster joined before Devyn’s senior year, he reversed the decision of the Head of the high school and Dean of Students and expelled Devyn.

Following the expulsion, the Headmaster sent a letter to the entire Covenant Christian Academy community detailing what happened to Devyn and saying, “CCA has a duty to all current parents and children of our community as well as any alumni, alumni parents and future families seeking a solid Christian education. That includes any other young people who are choosing to align themselves with Scripture while struggling with same sex-attraction and especially our elementary age children who have been impacted.” Devyn viewed this as a way to humiliate and shame them, and to threaten other LGBTQ+ students.

Devyn is raising their voice to protect all LGBTQ+ students at religiously affiliated schools across the country.

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