Scott McSwain lives in Tacoma, WA. His father is a Southern Baptist minister. He identifies as a gay man.
He graduated from Union University in 2010. Union University’s “Community Values Statements” outline rules of behavior for students and includes several specific anti-LGBTQ+ policies, including regulation of romantic and sexual relationships between people of the same sex and the prohibition of being transgender.
While a student, Union University discovered that Scott is gay. Administrators took him into a dimly lit room, told him he was going to go to hell, and said that they worried about his soul. They threatened to expel him and eliminate his credits unless he agreed to attend so-called “conversion therapy.” He was given vouchers for a therapist approved by Exodus International, which at the time was a prominent group that advocated for and offered conversion therapy. The therapist wound up sexually harassing Scott, which he reported to the school, who did not take action.
“The school’s policies made me feel that I was subpar and subhuman in their eyes,” Scott said. “As a result of the school’s actions, I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder. I have been to urgent care multiple times for panic attacks. I am participating in this lawsuit because Union continues to discriminate against students and potential students based on who they love while accepting federal funds.”
Scott 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.