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Student Expelled for Saying He's Gay on MySpace

I didn't get a chance to cover this yesterday, so here goes. Jason Johnson, a student at Kentucky's University of the Cumberlands, was recently "dismissed" from school for saying he's gay on his MySpace profile.

JohnsonA University spokesperson said the Baptist school has the right to expel a student who "promotes sexual behavior not consistent with Christian principles." Johnson's story has spread quickly around the internet, and last Thursday, his boyfriend Zac Dreyer began a campaign to get Johnson's story out.

CumberlandsFrom Dreyer's blog:

"I ask that you do what you can to help stop this attrocious act of discrimination on gays and lesbians at Cumberland. Help get the story out there so that all the gays and lesbians at the University will no longer have to live in secrecy in fear of having their dreams crushed in front of them. Get the story out to the news, the newspapers, spread it through the internet and if you are daring enough call the President of the University yourself, as I have done to see that this discrimination is stopped."

And Johnson left a thank you message there as well:

"Thank you for all of your support and encouragement throughout this time. Although this has been a difficult past couple of days, I am confident in what has happened thus far, and what is coming up in the next few weeks. Your words of encouragement have kept my spirits up and made it that much easier for me to continue this cause. At this time, I cannot respond to indvidual comments or messages, but I am hearing them, reading them, and they are moving me. Continue speaking out against discrimination, not just by what is happening at University of the Cumberlands, but throughout the nation. 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere' (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr) Thank you, from the bottom of my heart."

Dreyer's call to action and Johnson's predicament have prompted some students at the Christian school to speak up about the university's actions. Said student Renee Kuder: "They're being hypocritical, by Christian standards. If we love each other, accept each other for who we are, why are they kicking him out? I almost feel like they're trying to mold us, me, into a person that I wouldn't want to be. There's a letter in the student handbook that says everyone is a unique creation of God, you're special, we care about you. They didn't care if he didn't have a place to go. They could have pretty much ruined his life."

Amen. Best of luck to Jason.

Reaction Grows to Gay Student's Expulsion [lexington herald leader]
Student Expelled After Revealing He's Gay On MySpace [mtv]

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Comments

  1. Just based on these samplings - and fully inviting Towle entourage rage - I got to say: C'MON, son. It's a Baptist school, for God's sake. Anyone who elects to attend such a place knows very well what they're all about, and it ain't Christian acceptance of our differences.
    You don't join the army, junior, and then bitch that your pacifism is not appreciated.

    Posted by: Jacko | Apr 11, 2006 10:39:45 AM


  2. Stories such as this and some of the ones you posted here yesterday, Andy, are really making me stop and think about my role in life as a Gay man. Discrimination of the Queer community is STILL OK and that MUST CHANGE NOW!! I am doing my bit in the Gay community here in Philly through volunteering, etc. but, more has to be done by myself and all of us to end this shit once and for all! It just keeps happening and happening and happening, day-after-day and ENOUGH ALREADY!

    Posted by: Joey | Apr 11, 2006 10:41:18 AM


  3. Maybe I'm being a bit insensitive but, would you be surprised if you were kicked out of a KKK Rally for being black? How is this any different? It's almost guranteed that a religious institution such as the one above is more likely to discriminate against homos when they see it as a direct violation of their faith. It is their own right to do this too, are they not a private institution? Why is anyone surprised or appalled by this story? The university's actions are not unexpected, I think they are very consistent with their interpretations of morality. What I mean is, be mad for the intolerance, but don't be surprised or try to get them to allow gay people in. They have the right to choose who they let in, don't they? What if Johnson was umm... closeted-Buddhist and got kicked out? Would it be any different?

    Posted by: Scott A | Apr 11, 2006 10:47:03 AM


  4. I have to take the opposite position here.. The kid is gay. He went to a school with a THEATRE deparrment...

    Okay, so what was the school thinking when they endowed such a major? THEATRE.

    T H E A T R E !

    HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    Cumberland invited gay boyz n girlz to be at this school by virtue of their course offerings and majors listed. God knows, there is a lot of room out there for another Kirk Cameron clone.

    I went to a small rural Methodist college for a year. The theatre department was OVERRUN by the gay boyz n girlz. And the administration knew it. It's like the dirty secret, they need a group to notch below everyone else, in order to make themselves look better.

    If they don't want gays at their school, they need to get rid of the major.

    Build it and they will come.

    Build it, put a marquee up, a baby blue spot, and a showtune... and BOY HOWDY will they come! :)

    Posted by: Darren | Apr 11, 2006 11:01:58 AM


  5. I gotta agree with the couple posters who have the ability to think outside the homo-centric box.

    I certainly would feel odd complaining about being ejected from Fred Phelps church. Or complaining that the neo-nazi meeting going on wouldn't let me Jewish ass attend.

    Whole thing seems silly. If your school has no such rules on record, fine. This guy knew exactly what he was doing. Seems shady to me.

    Posted by: Seangstm | Apr 11, 2006 11:05:06 AM


  6. I think it's great that the students are trying to speak up about the hypocrisy of the so-called Christian administrators, but I agree with other posters that this school has the right to inflict their neanderthal moral code as a private institution and that the young fellow in question ought to learn from this lesson and see about the opportunity of attending a more accepting institution.

    According to a cursory Web search, tuition at the school is about $20,000/annum, so if money is an issue for this guy, he can do better at a state school (and don't use the argument of him getting a better education at Cumberlands because apparently the average SAT score of students is 1013 which is not particularly indicative of an intellectual paradise).

    When people stop applying and attending these Christian madrasas, then they will wither. Right now, though, they are free to operate, accept and expel however and whomever they choose. The action I would call all adult gay people to take is not so much directing outrage at the school, but outreaching to and financially supporting gay youth programs that counsel kids about NOT going to these types of schools in the first place, thus depriving the bigoted instutions of operating revenue.

    University of the Cumberlands is a school whose team name is the Patriots and where a new Ten Commandments monument was just dedicated. While many gay people are patriots and many follow the Ten Commandments, these cultural indicators mask (lightly) a garden variety right-wingism that ought to hint to gay people that they may not be welcomed at the school.

    Posted by: Becks07 | Apr 11, 2006 11:06:39 AM


  7. Just based on these samplings - and fully inviting Towle entourage rage - I got to say: C'MON, son. It's a Baptist school, for God's sake. Anyone who elects to attend such a place knows very well what they're all about, and it ain't Christian acceptance of our differences.
    You don't join the army, junior, and then bitch that your pacifism is not appreciated.

    Posted by: Jacko

    Those were my first thoughts, exactly, Jacko. While I disagree with the intolerance, it is not unexpected. It's a "Christian" university.

    We in the gay community need to grow up and quit expecting every church and church-centric institution to accept us. It's not going to happen and it just makes us look bad in the eyes of people who are on the fence and seriously questioning the stands of their homo-hating institutions.

    Let the gay-hating university stew in its hatred! Once the world passes them by we win. They become increasingly more and more irrelevant as time goes by.

    Posted by: MississippiTim | Apr 11, 2006 11:24:43 AM


  8. Well, jeez, then, the blacks can just go to a water fountain and a diner counter where they are welcome, can't they?

    Why in the world would they want to go to that white store? Don't go in a white place and complain when you know you're black...

    When will conservatives ever have an original thought and stop blaming victims?

    Posted by: brian nyc | Apr 11, 2006 11:24:57 AM


  9. hmmmmmm... I don't know. Shouldn't the kid be able to go to the school of his choice w/o having to put up with this shit? Shouldn't we be able to go our favourite vacation spot of choice w/o getting our heads bashed-in?? Shouldn't we have the same rights as a married, straight couple??? Shouldn't we be able TO marry, adopt... like i said before, it all needs to stop! "...change is gonna come..."

    I love this blog!!!!!!!

    Posted by: Joey | Apr 11, 2006 11:27:41 AM


  10. The boy was in high when the choice was made to go to this school. Maybe he was not a clear thinking HOMO at that point, maybe he thought he would get a great theater based liberal arts education there. I suspect he never thought of the pure hatred that exists in this world towards the gays.
    I think it is very easy for us whom are well past those years to look at this with more a more mature eye and say;

    "It's a Baptist school, for God's sake."

    But I suspect the high school boy who made the choice to attend this college was only think of his education.

    Posted by: Donald | Apr 11, 2006 11:44:48 AM


  11. Ignorance of the rules your school has on record does not absolve you of responsibility to follow them, nor does it lessen the punishment the school can inflict for such an infraction.

    If people stop going to the school because of this guy's speaking out, then that's the best thing that could happen. Trying to get the school to change though, is a fruitless exercise.

    Posted by: Seangstm | Apr 11, 2006 11:48:28 AM


  12. I think it is another farce.

    Posted by: andrew | Apr 11, 2006 11:59:42 AM


  13. You'll all find the post found in the link above quite thought provoking.

    Posted by: K | Apr 11, 2006 12:20:38 PM


  14. I find the whole "it's a Baptist school, you idiot" argument hypocritical. Weren't people in our community up in arms about priests being asked to resign a few months ago? If there's any "duh, don't join" organization, it would be the Catholic clergy.

    Posted by: Bryan | Apr 11, 2006 12:54:41 PM


  15. I say - we must begin to dismantle the organised religions. How many thousands of years of war, oppression, bigotry, lying, hatred and hypocrisy must we all tolerate?

    Gods do not exist, therefore the religions which perpetuate these cruel and nonsensical myths should not either.

    Perhaps if we accepted globally that life is the meaning of life, life might actually be better. Most religions believe that (life after) death is the meaning of life.

    If saying that doesn`t make me burst into flame, nothing will.

    Posted by: Peter Rivendell | Apr 11, 2006 2:10:48 PM


  16. To make matters worse,this university receives public funding. We pay for homophobia. http://rjr10036.typepad.com/proceed_at_your_own_risk/2006/04/university_of_c.html

    Posted by: Richard | Apr 11, 2006 4:54:46 PM


  17. No high school boy is ever only thinking of his education. And no BAPTIST college doesn't send out one pretty major vibe, the theater department notwithstanding.

    My prob with this is the we-demand-Nirvana-NOW attitude of more militant gays. Please don't tell me that such attitudes kept Blacks standing in buses; that's a very different, public, civil rights issue. I blame victims, Brian, when their purported victimization is self-inflicted; that is, thrusting themselves into a privatized institution blatantly not receptive to their orientations.

    Gay, straight, Black, White, whatever: you are not welcome in some places, because those places have problems with what you are. Societal humans segregate. They do so all the time and, as long as they make their limitations known, are legally permitted to assess individuals based on their organization's standards, and don't fuck with civil liberties, the world may keep spinning - as Steinbeck put it - in greased grooves.

    Posted by: Jacko | Apr 11, 2006 5:00:59 PM


  18. Sorry for screwing up the link (above)...just go to http:rjr10036.type.com and it's the first entry.

    Posted by: Richard | Apr 11, 2006 5:01:26 PM


  19. State funding for a new pharmacy school building at the University of the Cumberlands should not be included in the budget if the private school doesn't stop discriminating against gay students, a legislator warned last night.

    "We should not be budgeting bigotry," Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, told colleagues before voting on the $18.1 billion, two-year budget. Scorsone is the only openly gay member of the General Assembly.

    The university made headlines last week when it expelled a student for disclosing on a personal Web site that he is gay.

    In an unusual arrangement, the proposed budget includes $10 million of state debt to construct a pharmacy building on the school's Whitley County campus. The budget also includes $1 million to fund scholarships for students attending the college's yet-to-be created pharmacy program.

    "If the University of the Cumberlands does not change its policies and practices, we will have a state benefit that is only available to heterosexuals," Scorsone said.

    Read the articles before spouting off!!!!

    Posted by: busytimmy | Apr 11, 2006 5:39:09 PM


  20. I'm surprised this kid doesn't have more support from you all. Bigotry is bigotry, plain and simple. The fact that it's a religious institution doesn't make it right; in fact, that makes it all the more wrong.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 11, 2006 5:43:40 PM


  21. The wingnut posts here prove again that Log Cabin Republicans have found a way to be enthusiastic about second-class citizenship.

    No clue on their part that telling the truth, coming out, being a full citizen and human being is worth it, and will be worth it for all the young and vulnerable people who follow us into this racist, homophobic country...

    You conservatives are nothing but a burden to the gay people who want to come out and be 100% fully vested citizens. You look at Matthew Sheppard and say, "you deserved it." How do I know this? Your posts on the thread about the gay-bashed English clergyman. Okay, we get it, you like being in the closet and hate seeing other people come out into the light. I hear you. Okay? But hear this: you are boring and an albatross around the neck of every gay person.

    Posted by: Brian nyc | Apr 11, 2006 6:50:50 PM


  22. Which "conservatives" are you talking about?


    Posted by: Peter Rivendell | Apr 11, 2006 7:10:11 PM


  23. That's one hell of a leap, Bryan.

    'Second-class citizenship' is - in this case and in so many others that frantic gays abhor - a fact of life as it is lived WHEN CERTAIN ARENAS ARE ENTERED INTO BY ANYONE NOT IN ACCORD WITH THAT ARENA'S BELIEFS, ATTITUDES, OR TASTE IN MUSIC. You are confusing basic freedoms violations with choices made by groups, institutions, whatever, and choices not by any means designed to demean anyone.

    Ironically, gay trumpeteers have created more barriers for us AS PEOPLE than any homophobe could dream of, by virtue of extending what is merely a fucking sexual orientation into an entire, political, behavioral way of existence.

    Sorry to have been so ranting and vehement. I'm just so sick of gay agitprop.

    Posted by: Jacko | Apr 11, 2006 7:47:18 PM


  24. And there you have it, ladies and gents...the ones who love to be in the closet and come here to tell us that gay people are more obnoxious when they try to come out than the people who expel, shun, fire, excommunicate and kill them.

    Let's really think about this...Jacko was trembling with rage thinking about a 16-year-old standing up to be a gay citizen...and rushing to defend the people who are trying to take away that student's personhood.

    Let's not forget that principle when the wingnut posts go up. Gay people who are open are more obnoxious than un-Christian hypocrites with three divorces and histories of touching pre-teens who punish gay people for being. There you have the right-wing spin.

    Posted by: Brian nyc | Apr 11, 2006 7:54:53 PM


  25. The kid is gay and just happens to be enrolled in a Baptist college. He is found out and "dismissed". Does that mean he should just shut up about it? He is getting other students...straight students to stand up for him in defense. He may never be able to go back to that school again....but he has started something, got some people who may have never thought about the injustice and the hypocricy to speak out. Great work has been done.

    Great progress has happened in the comments on this blog, too. I don't believe anyone has written above to comment on how the kid looks. Thank you.

    Posted by: Patrick | Apr 11, 2006 9:49:27 PM


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