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These LGBTQ Students Say Their School Treats Them like Second-Class Citizens

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One night in 2018, senior Kyle Deserosiers was walking across campus with his boyfriend. They were holding hands. Another student, seeing them, turned and yelled: “faggot.” 

It was hardly the first time Deserosiers was ridiculed for his sexuality at Baylor University, a private Christian university in Waco, Texas. Administrators, students, and even professors, he said, have made lewd comments and jokes about queer and trans people in front of him, both in- and outside of class, during his four years at the school.

Students have gone further to say that this kind of discrimination against the LGBT community is built into the very foundation of the university. Until 2015, same-sex displays of affection were a violation of the student handbook and considered a punishable offense. All residence halls are separated by binary gender. Many students, including Deserosiers, have heard rumors that the school has accepted sponsorships from homophobic companies that support conversion therapy. Students like Desrosiers feel that the school operates in a way that only recognizes the humanity of the cisgender and heterosexual student body. “I have had experiences that make me feel like I don’t belong here, like I’m an outsider, and that this is not the community for me,” Deserosiers said. “This discrimination needs to be investigated.”

One frustrating aspect of this has been that, since 2011, the university’s administration has refused to officially recognize Gamma Alpha Upsilon, the school’s unofficial LGBTQ club. According to Anna Conner, a senior at Baylor and the Vice President of Gamma Alpha Upsilon, the organization applies every year to be officially chartered; each year, it is rejected. Official recognition would grant the group funding and the ability to officially rent out spaces or bring speakers to campus, among other privileges. “They’ll tell us that something is wrong with the application, or that the organization doesn’t coincide with the student code of conduct,” Conner said. “We’ve reached out to the regents and various faculty and administration, but we haven’t had any luck meeting with anyone about it.”

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