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Why Now?

For too long, religious colleges and universities have actively discriminated against and abused their LGBTQ students with no accountability.

As a result of the harmful policies of these institutions, LGBTQ students have been forced into conversion therapy, denied admission, expelled before graduating and suffered from severe depression and suicidal inclinations.

The Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) was launched because we believe the stories of these students must be heard – and that the time has come for the public, and the U.S. government, to hold these institutions accountable.

At a time when public support for comprehensive LGBTQ protections is soaring and the Biden Administration has affirmed its commitment to protect LGBTQ Americans, including students, from discrimination, REAP is committed to exposing the long history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination at more than 200 religious colleges and ensuring that key decision makers – and the general public – understand the life-saving importance of protecting queer and transgender students on these campuses.

That’s why in March 2020, REAP, alongside College Pulse, published a first-of-its-kind report detailing the climate for LGBTQ students at religious colleges – finding that on each of these campuses, LGBTQ students endure rampant levels of discrimination, abuse and violence. Read the full report here.

And it’s why in April 2020, REAP filed a class-action lawsuit – representing 33 LGBTQ students from religious colleges nationwide – calling on the U.S Department of Education to stop granting religious exemptions to religious colleges that aim to discriminate against LGBTQ students while still receiving federal, taxpayer funding.

As the only national effort dedicated to supporting and empowering LGBTQ students at religious colleges, REAP’s work will not end until all LGBTQ students – at all religious colleges – are afforded the safety, dignity and respect all students deserve.


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