Phyllis George Kirkwood, Elementary Education (1959), writes:

The  letter to the George Fox University community presents the issue both to students and the university in a compassionate and supportive way. When a new student policy came out about three years ago, I contacted the administration about their attitude toward gay students. It did not seem that Jesus would have had this policy.  I was told that I had a different interpretation of scripture than they; but it was at George Fox that I learned God loves all people very dearly, and all knowledge is God’s. I carried this with me into my teaching career…Click here to read more.

Heather Griggs, Nursing (2011), writes:

We have (or had) the privilege of attending a university that values community. George Fox University’s website is full of emphasis on community. The introduction to the Community Lifestyle Statement includes the following statements: “As a community we encourage and teach our members to follow Jesus Christ and be collaborators in God’s work in the world. We urge each member to become the kind of person and live the kind of life that Jesus taught and modeled….We believe the Bible teaches that all persons are created in God’s image and that God actively seeks renewed relationships with every individual. We are bound therefore to regard each person with love and respect (Romans 12:9-21, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:32). So we avoid discrimination, abusive or manipulative actions, and gossip or mean-spirited behaviors…Click here to read more.

Ron Parrish, professor at George Fox University (1989-2010), writes:

Aloha! This is an honor to share with you either in joy or agony or coming up for air in our struggle with our identity. Thanks to Paul Southwick and a Newberg pastor, I became aware of OneGeorgeFox and Common Ground and attended the meeting on March 14, 2012, Wow! It was just great and mostly in its timing for me in my journey. So, what about my journey? I was born and reared with an older sister and younger brother in Oregon. My father was a pastor in The Christian Church and my mother, an excellent Administrative Assistant and Pianist. I took care of my mother and father for 25 years and remained silent during those years about my identity…Click here to read more.

Ryan Blanchard, B.A., Philosophy (2003), writes:

I am a straight man, but I wasn’t always sure.

My first experience of a sexual nature was when I was 12. So was he. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing, but I knew it felt sinful. Throughout middle school I found myself developing feelings and attractions to lots of people, boys and girls alike. I can’t express how much shame accompanied these feelings. Because of how strongly I clung to my faith, I couldn’t tell anyone what I was feeling. Every single support person in my life would have condemned my feelings as evil. It was not an option to be attracted to other boys. It was sin, and I just hoped it would pass with time. I blamed it on puberty, on my experience as a 12 year old with curiosity, on anything I could besides the obvious. Despite what I wanted and believed in, I had feelings and attractions for people of the same sex…Click here to read more.

Jeff Bineham, B.A., Communication Arts (1980), writes:

I attended George Fox from 1976 to 1980, and during that time I met only one student who I knew to be gay.  She was eccentric and eloquent and remarkably honest about her orientation, and she disappeared from campus after one semester.  I think I treated her kindly.  I know I judged her harshly.

My judgment, which I never voiced to her but which I’m sure she could sense, was that her sexual orientation made her guilty of a sin.  I was certain my judgment was correct because I believed the Bible pronounced absolute truths, I believed I knew what those truths were, and I believed they indicated clearly that anything other than heterosexuality was wrong…Click here to read more.

Melanie Weidner, B.A., Religion/Christian Ministries, Art Minor (1991), writes:

Dear friends at George Fox University, Seminary, and Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church,

I imagine you find yourselves tugged in your hearts and minds by this latest upswell of passionate conversation about sexuality and faith.  I find myself heartened by the courage and compassion I see in those raising the issues yet again, and so I signed the OneGeorgeFox.com letter in solidarity with the request to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer or questioning students and alumni.  I also feel waves of my own grief rising as I consider my college and life experience and what I hope for the University and Yearly Meeting…Click here to read more.

Darleen (Mock) Ortega, B.A., Writing/Literature (1984), writes:

In 1984, during my last year at Fox, there were rumors going around that a professor with whom I had a particularly close relationship was a lesbian.  I defended her against what to me equated to a charge that she was a pornographer or child molester–and then she came out to me shortly after leaving the faculty.  I felt betrayed, but also confused by my own sense of betrayal.  What exactly had she done to betray me? I felt both foolish and proud to have defended her, and found myself uneasy with the fact that she needed a defense at all… Click here to read more.

Travis Williams, B.A., Psychology (2004); PsyD Clinical Psychology (2009), writes:

I came to George Fox nearly 12 years ago.  It was my opportunity to start fresh and new in a new state. I could shed the persona of the “gay kid” that got teased in junior high and high school.  I didn’t come out in undergrad.  I dated girls. I had a lot of fun. I made a lot of memories that I hold very dear to me.  I liked George Fox so much that I chose to attend graduate school there too.  It was in this transition period that I started attending what I now refer to as a “degayification program.”  The program taught me a lot about myself, and it actually affirmed my identity as a proud gay man. I am sure they would not want to hear that at the program.  But that is what I learned… Click here to read more.

Micheal Espana-McGeehon, B.A., Writing/Literature (2001); MAT Secondary Education (2003), writes:

When I first arrived at George Fox University I was so full of hope.  I had spent most of high school harassed because of a perception that I was gay.  Many of my friends were gay or lesbian, and because of this association with them I was taunted, harassed, and once even beaten.  In my home church I had been taught that grace was possible for everyone, except for homosexuals and other “chronic sinners”.   I was so excited to escape from this environment, especially when I found out that George Fox University was associated with the Quakers.  I was so excited to be a part of a community that was founded by a religious organization founded upon testimonies of peace, integrity, simplicity, and equality… Click here to read more. 

Gail Bumala, B.A., Liberal Arts (1980); B.A. Psychology (1981), writes:

In thirty-two years, I’ve seen a great deal of change in this world and in this society, especially, around the issue of GLBTQ rights. When I first moved to Portland, it was not a hospitable place for “queer” people. I was a queer Christian; having spent six years in celibacy, seeking God’s healing hand on the issue of my sexual orientation. If I could just reach out and touch Jesus’ garment as he walked by… Click here to read more.

Questions? Have an alumni perspective to contribute? Please email us at contact@onegeorgefox.org.

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