Oklahoma Baptist University and Oklahoma Christian School
Tristan Campbell lives in Belmont, MA. He identifies as a bisexual man. He grew up with a non-denominational faith background but then became very involved in a Southern Baptist
church in high school.
In August of 2013 he began studying at Oklahoma Baptist University. He stopped attending OBU without graduating in December of 2015. Oklahoma Baptist University has a student handbook detailing 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.
Tristan had long struggled with his sexuality, but in sophomore year came out to his therapist, then friends. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry he wrote an article reconciling his faith and his support for marriage equality, but the school reprimanded him about this and other social media posts. Ultimately, Tristan came out more publicly. As a result, he was fired from his job as a Resident Assistant and later dismissed from the university without notice – one day he just could no longer register for classes, and the registrar called to ask where his transcripts should be sent.
“OBU forced me to choose between my own beliefs and convictions about myself, my identity and what was best for my mental health and OBU’s beliefs and convictions about me and my identity, which were harmful to me,” Tristan said.
He has since gotten involved with Bison 4 Equality, an LGBTQ+ group of OBU students and alumni. Through that, he has seen that LGBTQ+ students at OBU have continued to suffer under OBU’s discriminatory policies. Queer and trans students have lost scholarships, been removed from sports teams and been harassed, even when they were not engaging in same-sex relationships or sexual behaviors.
Now Tristan is raising his voice to protect all LGBTQ+ students at Oklahoma Baptist University and religiously affiliated colleges across the country.