Stephen Lovegrove, a rising junior at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina, was informed this past Monday that he had lost his federally funded work-study position a resident advisor (RA) at his school. Lovegrove recently began posting on the internet about how he identified as gay and Christian, and the administration took notice.
The administration brought the situation to Lovegrove's attention, expressing a fear that 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.
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.
Dr. Brewer also pointed out that Lovegrove is still technically a student at the school, but Lovegrove has announced that he is not returning to CSU in the fall. Not only has he lost the thousands of dollars that were helping him pay his tuition through his work-study as an RA, but he no longer feels comfortable at a school that can't accept him for being gay.
Even through his hardship, Lovegrove maintains hope. "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. We will continue to amplify his story, as well as others who face discrmination at their school.