1. Students between the ages of 17-24 are not financially independent of their families and rely on them for funding and help with college tuition as well as funding for housing, food, etc.
2. Students between these ages are also reliant upon other resources for funding including financial aid, student loans, credit, etc. Typically, the parent may assert control over these monetary pieces on behalf of the student OR threaten to remove them from the student if the student openly identifies as LGBTQ.
3. These families are often staunchly conservative and Christian themselves, and the student has been immersed from birth into conservative Christian ideologies. They may even believe the same things their parents do and hold to those same values while intentionally remaining closeted and believing that being LGBTQIA is a sin.
4. Most LGBTQIA folks don’t even discover or realize they’re Gay/Queer/Trans until they are in college. If they discover this at a conservative Christian university, this makes that realization all the more dangerous due to removal of basic human rights and non-affirming theology. There are limited safe spaces for the student when they realize this. Most administrators on campus would council an LGBTQ+ student toward their doctrinal theological beliefs and away from accepting their identity. This is in direct contradiction to what the American Psychological Association recommends: https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/guidelines. Ironically, many of these Christian universities are accredited by the APA, yet do not follow these strict guidelines to maintain that accreditation.
5. Christian universities have no qualms about courting and offering scholarships to pretty much anyone under the sun. There is rarely an informed consent procedure, making these students believe that they are desirable for these campuses regardless of how they may identify. In other words, Christian universities are perfectly happy with taking your money and do not use discretion when enticing a student to apply.
6. Many of these students ARE Christian and they desire to have that faith remain in tact. They are navigating a very difficult space of faith and sexuality and reconciling both of those critical pieces of their identities. Desiring to be in a faith community is not surprising.
7. Why not just transfer? It sounds so easy, but it’s not. Transferring requires a considerable amount of uprooting and financial devastation. First of all, that requires a full logistical relocation depending on where they are. Furthermore, transferring credits to another university is difficult. It prolongs the student’s time in the undergrad system which means the financial burden of tuition is extended and graduation dates are delayed as a result. (Not all universities will accept the full amount of credits being transferred to the new school).
The question we should be asking is how we can support LGBTQIA students in these spaces who very often have little if any communities who support and love them. Many times they remain closeted. Statistically, it has been demonstrated that against their heterosexual peers, Queer students have much higher rates of isolation, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and risk for substance abuse. Outing themselves on campus is dangerous. The threat of reparative therapy counseling is REAL. The threat of being having scholarships removed is REAL. The threat of expulsion and being outed to parents is REAL. The threat of losing resources to live and survive is REAL.
Consider becoming a patron of my work to support these students and for the education I have provided you by visiting this link: https://www.patreon.com/ErinGreen
For the more extensive work done with these students, visit http://bravecommons.org and join us in the movement. You can donate there as well!