Jeremiah La Plante, International Studies (2015), writes:
I came to George Fox as a ‘middle of the road’ Christian on most issues, especially LGBTQ+ issues. I was ‘straight’ though I was different than the other straight people I knew: I watched gay pornography. But I wasn’t gay. Three years before I came to George Fox, my parents had found me with pornography and had sent me to a local pastor to be ‘fixed’ in the words of my father. Luckily, for both the pastor and myself, the pastor didn’t believe in that sort of thing. However, Fox did and continues to do so.
I have clinical depression; I’ve had it for nearly a decade. With that depression comes waves of suicidal thoughts and ideations. During my first term at Fox, I sought help from the Health and Counselling Centre because of this problem. The therapist assigned to me pinpointed one part of the depression and suicidal thoughts and ideations to the pornography viewing. Her solution was simple: go to ex-gay therapy in Portland because it will help me feel better. The only problem was that I was a minor and was not soliciting this therapy. I never went.
Because I had seen a pastor when I was in secondary school once a week for nearly two years, I assumed that seeing a pastor at Fox would be a good idea. After all, I had developed a good relationship with my high school pastor, so why wouldn’t I develop one with a pastor at a Quaker campus? During my second term, the pastor that I had been seeing gave me a book to read: Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting. At first, I thought nothing of it because we had been talking about LGBTQ+ Christians. As I began to read it, he started asking me questions such as, ‘Do you see any similarities between your stories?’ I tried telling him that I was not gay, but he didn’t believe me. He went on to tell me about other LGBTQ+ Christians who had chosen celibacy as their way of rationalising their faith with their orientation. Yet he never believed me that I wasn’t gay.
I’m not gay; I’m asexual and panromantic. I am not a Christian; I am non-religious. Being asexual has its major downsides, and one of those is the intense feeling of loneliness that comes with being the literal ‘Other’ to all other orientations. Where they are sexual, you are not. You will never love them as they love you, and they will never love you as you love them. In the words of another asexual, “I feel like it’s one thing to tell your significant other that you’re not ready to have sex yet and another to tell them you’re *never* going to be ready” (no emphasis added).
My depression continued to become at problem during my second and third terms at Fox, and the school’s response was to violate my FERPA protections and demand my psychological records from the Health and Counselling Centre as well as force me to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding my freedom of speech pertaining to my personal life. I could only speak about my life to the pastor, my Area Co-ordinator, or a therapist, preferably a university therapist. If I did not turn over my records, sign the agreement, or if I broke the agreement, my status as a student would come under review. Faced with that, I signed the agreement and granted access to my records.
I left Fox after my fourth term because of the rise in tuition as well as because of the treatment that I received, among other things, as an LGBTQ+ student, as a liberal, as a non-religious person, and as a student of Middle Eastern descent. This cannot be allowed to continue. If a student chooses to seek out ex-gay therapy, that is their decision. However, no student should have it thrust upon them—especially as a minor—and no student should have their FERPA rights violated and threatened with expulsion for seeking the community that George Fox prides itself on having. There is nothing ‘Christian’ about this; actually, there sadly is. But there is nothing ‘Christ-like’ about this.
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