New petition begs Charleston Southern University to protect LGBT students

A new petition requesting that Charleston Southern University in South Carolina add protections for students of all sexual orientations has been created. April Singletary created the petition after friend Stephen Lovegrove, a rising junior at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina, was informed that he had lost his federally funded work-study position as a resident advisor (RA) at his school because he had recently began posting on the internet about how he identified as gay and Christian, and the administration took notice.

The administration stated if parents typed his name into Google, they would find his posts about being gay and feel uncomfortable with having him as their child's RA. "Over the summer, I came out as gay on Facebook. I wrote candidly about my journey as an individual who identifies as a Christian and a gay person, and I told my story in a series of YouTube videos. The next week, I was called in for a meeting with my bosses at CSU and told that I had been fired from my job. The school had known I was gay for months, but they did not support me going public with that part of my life. They told me I could now be a liability that made the school look bad. I chose to be honest, something which I believe is crucial for living a biblical and healthy life. My honesty ended up costing me a lot. I lost money I was receiving which made it possible for me to be at school, and I was removed from everything at CSU which I was passionate about," says Lovegrove on the petition's webpage.

When asked by a local news source why Lovegrove was removed from his position, the dean of student affairs Dr. Rick Brewer cited personnel issues that couldn't be discussed, but that Lovegrove was moved to a different position with the same pay. Since his dismissal Lovegrove has announced that he is not returning to CSU this fall as he no longer feels comfortable at a school that can't accept him for being gay.  

"Even through the pain of recent events, my story is reaching people and giving them hope. I have hope in a God who says that what humans mean for evil, He can use for good. Finally, I have hope that this a turning point in our nation's history, and things really will get better if we can begin facing the reality of discrimination," Lovegrove stated. "I would invite any person of faith to listen to my story and join the discussion, and I would urge all churches and ministries to begin finding ways to reach out to LGBT people and include them in their communities."

Stephen's story matches the story of other LGBT students at conservative Christian schools like Point Loma Nazarene University, and Biola University. GLAAD will continue to amplify his story, as well as others who face discrmination at their school.

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GLAAD Southern Stories will elevate the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation's southern states. The initiative amplifies stories of LGBT people thriving in the South, ongoing discrimination, as well as the everyday indignities endured by LGBT people who simply wish to live the lives they love, including stories of family, stories of faith, stories of sports, and stories of patriotism