by Josiah Robinson
Petition calling for more LGBTQ+ inclusive policies at Oral Roberts University surpasses 10,500 signatures - and it’s just the beginning.
The petition calling for more LGBTQ+ inclusive policies at ORU had launched just before I boarded a plane to Tulsa, Oklahoma . I was deeply closeted in my youth growing up, and, while attending ORU, was tormented by my own internalized queerphobia, religious indoctrination, and fear for my safety. So I was sick to my stomach at the thought of stepping foot back in my hometown again, a town that treated people like me so cruelly growing up.
But when the plane began to descend and my cell reception returned, I opened the petition on my phone to see if it had any signatures. My eyes began to water and my heart raced as I watched the signature count increase by the dozens every time I refreshed. It had thousands of signatures already. Tears began to stream down my face as the plane touched down on the runway.
It was one of the most affirming moments of my life. I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew that demanding basic protections for Queer and Trans students in religious spaces is the right and most just thing to do. I knew that countless more were rallying alongside myself and others.
As of this week, that petition surpassed 10,500 signatures.
As the petition closes, it’s a harsh reality that ORU may not make any systemic changes right now. But there is hope, and this is not a surrender. Across the country, there is a growing movement that is waking up to the inhumane treatment of LGBTQ+ students at places like ORU, Liberty, and BYU, and the masses are demanding equal protections.
To every LGBTQ+ student at discriminatory religious colleges and universities: take heart. You are not alone. There is a light at the other end of that graduation stage. So don your Pride flags proudly because we will never, ever be erased.
Josiah Robinson (he/they) is the former Research & Public Policy Fellow at REAP and a graduate of Oral Roberts University and Regent University School of Law.