“I think one of the hardest times is when you're just sitting in vespers or church and everything is fine... until the speaker says something negative about homosexuality and how wrong and sinful it is. Suddenly the people around you and the congregation echo their amens and you've never felt so small before. And then in the dorm and on campus people proudly proclaim their homophobic slurs/comments and your friends laugh along. You feel like no matter how good, how friendly, how Christ-like you try to be, no one will like you if they knew the real you. And then you truly feel alone.”
Written by Intercollegiate Adventist GSA Coalition (IAGC) President, Jonathan Doram, during his Freshman year at Andrews University, these words reflect how difficult life can be if you’re an LGBT+ student on a Seventh-day Adventist campus. In addition to normal college stressors like handling classes and eating in the school cafeteria every day, you must navigate the fraught terrain of reconciling your faith, sexuality, and gender identity in sometimes very difficult environments (to put it mildly).
To underscore this point, this week Campus Pride, a national non-profit dedicated to helping create safer college campuses for LGBT students, announced its updated Shame List which calls out the “shameful acts of religion-based prejudice.” Andrews University made the list, partly for its refusal to allow an official LGBT+ group on campus. Although there is AULL4One, an unofficial group that seeks to “create a safe and supportive space for LGBT+ students,” they are not allowed to meet on-campus or advertise to find others who may need help.
In a recent interview, Jonathan Doram, now a Senior at Andrews, stated the following in response to the Shame List, “I think it’s just a wake-up call – that we can keep working harder... view it as a chance to grow and learn from this, that next year we are not on the list.” Read full article...