Veronica Bonifacio Penales
Veronica Bonifacio Penales grew up in Shreveport, LA and graduated from a public high school in 2019. She identifies as queer.
She now attends Baylor University in Waco as a pre-law student. She expects to graduate in May 2023 with a degree in Political Science and International Studies. She received a Presidential Gold scholarship to attend Baylor.
Baylor University has policies 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. Veronica said that statements like this “make me feel like I don't belong at Baylor. Baylor does not practice what it preaches about diversity, inclusion, love and support because Baylor does not take actions to make us feel safe and supported. Words are not enough and ring hallow without action.” For example, when Veronica was harassed and the subject of online and in-person bullying and reported those incidents to the school, university officials did not take action.
“I am participating in this lawsuit because I want Baylor to realize what it is doing it wrong and harmful,” she said. “There is no excuse for ostracizing, discriminating against, and hurting their students.”
She is raising her voice to protect all LGBTQ+ students at Baylor 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.