Christian college kicks out Tennessee transgender man for getting top surgery
A private Christian college in the US suspended a transgender man for “sexual perversion” just hours after he got top surgery.
Yanna Awtrey is the son of missionaries and grew up in the Free Will Baptist Church.
He went to a Free Will Baptist college called Welch College, which was chosen by his parents, who are currently on a long-term missionary trip to Bulgaria.
“There was never another option for me to go to, and every time a new, non-Christian college was brought up, my parents would react negatively,” Awtrey told BuzzFeed News.
“Of course, it helped my parents to know that the college was equipped with cameras, curfew, regulations against alcohol, clothing restrictions, and many more potentially broken rules that they could be informed of, even while living outside of the USA.”
Awtrey began hormones earlier this year and had top surgery on August 2.
His parents aren’t supportive of his transition, which meant that the 21-year-old is organising his transition alone.
“I did everything on my own in secret from the people around me,” he said.
But while he was having the operation, the family friends he had planned to stay with after the procedure (patients cannot be alone after top surgery) worked out what he was doing and informed both Welch College and his parents.
Awtrey got an email from the school’s vice president for student services, Jon Forlines, while he was still in post-surgery recovery, informing him that he was no longer welcome on campus.
“Please be aware that because of the choices you have made we will not be able to allow you to come back to the dorm,” the email, which was reviewed by BuzzFeed News, said.
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“We’re praying for you that the love of Christ will speak to your every need in the coming days,” the email concluded.
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“I have nowhere to permanently stay, and I can’t work for money for at least two months because of the recovery process,” said Awtrey. “It’s the best and worst day of my life.”
The school at first tried to get him to voluntarily withdraw, which he refused, leading to a disciplinary hearing on August 7.
The school ultimately decided to suspend him for two terms, although he said he doubts he’ll be welcomed back after that.
In a statement, Welch College told BuzzFeed News that it could not comment on an individual student’s case, but made clear its stance on transgender identities.
“The College holds that God created humanity in two distinct and complementary sexes: male and female. The College acknowledges that the Fall of humanity into sin has introduced brokenness into God’s good creation, including in the realm of human sexuality,” the statement said.
“Welch College believes that individuals experiencing such confusion — and the distress that usually accompanies it — should be treated with love and compassion. The College also believes that attempting to alter one’s bodily identity constitutes a rejection of God’s design for humanity.”