Alex Duron is originally from El Paso, TX. He is Catholic and is the only member of his Latinx, Catholic family who graduated from high school and attended college. He came out as gay nearly 15 years ago, at the age of 25, and is now engaged to a longtime partner.
In the fall of 2019 he was accepted into Union University’s doctorate program in Union, Tennessee, and he prepared his life for this next step, selling his car, arranging housing in Tennessee while his partner remained in Texas in the home he and Alex bought together, and quitting his job to focus on the doctorate program. But just days before his orientation at Union in July 2020, the university rescinded their acceptance. The school had somehow found out that Alex is gay and engaged to marry a man, and because of that, they expelled him from the school. Union University is authorized for a religious exemption to Title IX that allows them to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.
“I went into shock,” Alex says about the day he received the email rescinding his acceptance. “My future was being ripped away from me. It felt like all my work as an ICU nurse and all my prior degrees meant nothing. Union’s policies denied me access to the federally-funded nursing program of my choice. A federally funded institution should not be able to pick and choose who can receive an education.”
Immediately after being expelled, Alex took a FEMA contract to treat Covid patients in San Antonio, then eventually applied to a different program. He is now pursuing a doctorate in Fresno, CA. He is raising his voice to protect all LGBTQ+ students at Union University and religiously affiliated colleges across the country.
At many religious schools, colleges, and universities, LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized students suffer discrimination, abuse, isolation, and hardship. If this describes you, you are not alone. We are in this together.
REAP fights for the safety, bodily autonomy, justice, and human rights of LGBTQIA+ and other communities marginalized at many predominantly white, taxpayer-funded religious schools and colleges. Using campus organizing, storytelling through podcasting, documentary film, and speaking and preaching on campuses throughout the country, REAP empowers students, faculty, staff and alumni at these institutions to advocate for human rights, while shining a light on the dangers and abuses of a major educational pipeline of white Christian Supremacy.