17 Professional Psychology Groups Call on U.S. Department of Education to Ensure Protections for LGBTQ+ Students at Faith-Based Colleges and Universities
Religious Exemption Accountability Project Applauds Statement as Class Action Lawsuit to Stop Anti-LGBTQ+ Discrimination at Religious Colleges Moves Forward
The Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) commends today’s announcement by 17 psychology groups affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) that urges the U.S. Department of Education to protect LGBTQ+ students at religious colleges and universities.
“We are grateful to these influential psychology groups for speaking out about the harm inflicted on vulnerable LGBTQ+ students at religious colleges,” said Paul Southwick, Attorney and Director of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project. “These experts understand the psychological damage caused by anti-LGBTQ discrimination and their voices will bolster our class-action lawsuit that seeks to end such abuse and create safe environments for LGBTQ+ students at faith-based universities across the nation.”
The APA affiliated statement warns of the immense injury caused by anti-LGBTQ bias, reading in part:
“Decades of psychological research has consistently found that discrimination toward LGBTQ+ people is harmful, and can result in increased rates of suicide, mental health symptoms, substance abuse, isolation, and lower academic achievement in school settings.”
It goes on to denounce non-affirming faith-based colleges and universities (NFBCUs) for discriminating against LGBTQ+ students in “in admission, retention, and employment due to a combination of restrictive policies, stigma, absence of formal social support groups, and lack of legal protections.”
The pronouncement also reiterates the APA’s strong stance against extremely damaging programs that attempt to change sexual orientation or gender identity which are often used at faith-based schools. It additionally calls out the U.S. Department of Education for exempting religious colleges from protecting LGBTQ+ students under Title IX:
“… given that non-affirming faith-based colleges and universities are indirectly funded by the U.S. government through student loans, research grants, and other federal dollars; thus, taxpayers are, even if unwittingly, funding religiously-based discrimination…. our groups call on the Department of Education to investigate allegations of harm toward LGBTQ+ students at NFCBUs, and to take appropriate actions to protect LGBTQ+ students.”
Read more about REAP’s class action lawsuit here.
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The Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) empowers queer, trans and non-binary students at more than 200 taxpayer-funded religious colleges and universities that actively discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Through civil rights litigation, documentary film, oral history, research and public policy, we work towards a world where LGBTQ students on all campuses are treated equally, with safety and respect.