Christian college accused of rejecting gay student over photo of her kissing girlfriend
A Christian university has been accused of rescinding a student’s offer of admission after discovering her sexuality via Instagram.
When Gianna Palmo accused Florida’s Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) of turning her down because she’s gay, the PBA spokesperson denied it.
But Palmo came prepared, and kept her receipts.
On Wednesday (6 July), Palmo took to TikTok to post a video featuring overlay text that read: “When ur Floridian college decides to not take [you] anymore [because you’re] gay.”
In an accompanying caption Palmo asked her 2,425 followers: “How is this allowed in 2022??!! Anyway attack PALM BEACH ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY.”
how is this allowed in 2022??!! anywayss attack PALM BEACH ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
The video gained over 121,000 views and earned a denial from the university.
A spokesperson wrote: “PBA was informed that Gianna Palmo withdrew her deposit from the university. At no time did PBA rescind her admission – instead, the university was making plans for her arrival. We wish Gianna all the best in her future endeavours.”
The teenager refused to accept this. She subsequently posted a recording which she said was of a meeting she had with the university’s head of admissions.
It suggested that the real reason for exclusion was an Instagram post which shows Palmo kissing her girlfriend.
In the video, a voice is heard saying “there are different standards for what is considered acceptable behaviour” among students from different backgrounds, and that PBA has “standards for how we live our life according to the Bible”.
Reply to @mrbiscuits0804 #greenscreenvideo
The PBA handbook states that “sexual immorality, including fornication, adultery, and homosexual behaviour, is prohibited in scripture… because our bodies are ‘a temple of the Holy Spirit'”.
It continued: “We believe that Christian marriage is between a man and a woman…. PBA expects that its students, faculty, and staff will neither engage in nor promote views of sexuality or gender expression that contradicts biblical standards.”
Since the college left a comment on Palmo’s original Instagram post it has reportedly blocked her and has disabled its comment section.
In addition to posting the two videos, Palmo also shared a text message she sent to a PBA representative expressing despair and disbelief at being rejected for her sexuality.
“I should not have to worry about being a target while trying to focus on my academics and follow through with my faith. I did not expect this from such a school that presents themselves as highly as shown. I am hurt about this. It is 2022 and it’s a shame that homophobia is still an issue in today’s day and that it’s tolerated at PBA,” she wrote.
People on TikTok have urged Palmo to take legal action, but she is prevented from doing so in law as, currently, private religious institutions are free to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religious beliefs as they see fit.
Despite the unfair circumstances, a former student said that Palmo “dodged a bullet and this is a blessing in disguise”.
Alex Whitehead, who was the student body president at PBA for the 2019-2020 school year, vocally supported Palmo.
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“Unfortunately, I can assure people your story is completely legit,” Whitehead said.
“I publicly came out as gay last month. The only reason it took that long was because I knew they [the PBA] could remove me from my position or the school entirely since Florida has practically no protections for LGBTQ+ individuals.
“PBA’s student guidelines ban what they call ‘homosexual behaviour’. When we tried to change the wording, I was told it was deliberately vague so they can enforce the rule as broadly as they want. I’m sorry they chose to use that against you. But I’m hopeful you’ll find a college where you can proudly be who you are.”
PBA was contacted for comment.