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Pride: Rice's Marching Owl Band Spells It Out For Baylor Administration

Inside Higher Ed:

Rice's Band Tackles Baylor's Homophobia

Inside Higher Ed | Elin Johnson | September 23, 2019

Rice University's marching band has taken a stance against Baylor University's anti-LGBTQ statements and stood in solidarity with its students.

The two Texas universities' football teams played each other Saturday; at halftime, the Marching Owl Band formed the word "pride" on the field while waving rainbow pride flags and playing "YMCA" by the Village People, reports the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Baylor, a Christian university, released a statement earlier alluding that they supported "biblical notions" of sexuality and did not support the charter of an LGBTQ organization. Read more…


Rice band spells ‘pride’ at halftime to mock Baylor’s anti-LGBTQ policies

Rice’s Marching Owl Band shows its support for Baylor’s LGBTQ students, who are marginalized because of school policy.

Outsports | Jim Buzinski | September 23, 2019

Rice University’s Marching Owl Band spelled out “pride” as people ran on the field waving rainbow flags at halftime of Saturday’s Baylor at Rice football game in Houston to make a statement of support for LGBTQ students at Baylor.

The band came up with the idea after Baylor administrators refused last month to recognize an LGBTQ student group, citing the Christian school’s “human sexuality” policy that prohibits students from engaging in “heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.” Read more…

Waco Tribune:

Rice band takes aim at Baylor LGBTQ stance in halftime show

Waco Tribune | Staff Reporters | September 21, 2019

The Rice Marching Owl Band (MOB), which describes itself as the university’s “infamously irreverent non-marching marching band,” took a shot at Baylor’s LGBTQ stance Saturday with its esoteric halftime show.

The band formed the outline of a Bear, performed a Star Wars-like lightsaber battle, then ended its routine by spelling out the word “Pride” while students holding rainbow flags joined in and the band played "YMCA" by the Village People. Baylor has been in the news this year for its denial of a charter for LGBTQ student groups, as it “affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality,” according to an official university statement. Read more…

Houston Chronicle:

Rice band’s halftime show plays in solidarity with Baylor LGBTQ students

Houston Chronicle | Brittany Britto and Glynn A. Hill | September 20, 2019

Rice University’s Marching Owl Band delivered a controversial skit and played pro-LGBTQ song “YMCA” by the Village People as dozens of students and alumni rushed the field with rainbow flags at its football game against Baylor University on Saturday night.

The skit comes as LGBTQ students and alumni fight to be recognized by the private Baptist college in Waco.

Chad Fisher, a spokesman for the Marching Owl Band, also known as “The MOB,” said he and his bandmates decided on a “Star Wars”-themed show months ago, but after learning about Baylor LGBTQ students’ ongoing fight to get recognition for their student group, they decided to incorporate that into their performance. Read more…

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Baylor hosts Christian LGBTQ Author Justin Lee

Last week, LGBTQ+ Christian activist, Justin Lee, spoke on Baylor's campus at the invitation of the Garland School of Social Work. Below is a press roundup from the Justin Lee event and a link to the recording online.


Baylor Lariat


Baylor Lariat | Emily Lohec | September 17, 2019

Justin Lee, a Christian advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, spoke to Baylor students about acceptance and standing united while on campus Tuesday night.

The Diana R. Garland School of Social Work hosted Lee as a speaker for Baylor’s Conversation Series, which focuses on “civil discourse for the campus community.”

Lee is an author and public speaker known for serving as a voice for the Christian LGBTQ+ community, and the founder of Q Christian Fellowship, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ Christian advocacy organization.

Lee believes that in order to discuss issues with people, we must share our stories to better understand what others may be going through. He wanted the audience to grasp the fact that he was not going use the night to share his personal story but rather to shed hope on the idea of understanding and accepting the LGBTQ+ community.

“I’m a Christian, first and foremost — my faith is at the core of who I am, from the very beginning of my life,” Lee said. “I think we spend a lot of time talking about LGBTQ issues— I don’t want to talk about issues tonight but I want to talk about issues through the lens of talking about actual people, because God loves people more than God loves issues.” Read more…


Hundreds Pack in Room to Hear Christian Author Speak at Baylor

Nearly 500 filled into the conference room atop the Cashion Academy Center on the Baylor campus Tuesday evening to listen to an influential Christian LGBTQ author speak about faith and sexuality.

The room was so filled, several people could be seen standing in the back to listen.

Justin Lee was at the university for a two-day visit where he also spoke to student in classes.

Dr. Jon E. Singletary was named dean of the Garland School of Social Work gave opening remarks and welcomed LGBTQ students to university and says they’re welcomed.

The talk was open to students and the public, sitting in the front row was President Linda Livingstone’s husband, filling-in while the university’s leader was away on travel, and some members of the Board of Regents. Read more…

Baptist Global News


Baptist Global News | Jeff Brumley | September 19, 2019

Gay Christian activist Justin Lee harbored no illusions that his invitation to Baylor University would result in a sudden, official affirmation of LGBTQ students on the Waco, Texas campus.

“I know that’s not where Baylor is. I know that’s not where a lot of my Christians friends are, a lot of Christian institutions,” he said in a video recording of his Tuesday night talk posted online. He was hosted by the university’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.

Baylor’s gay, lesbian and transgender student community knows this all too well. Earlier this month, their latest request for a charter for Gamma Alpha Upsilon, the LGBTQ club at Baylor, was denied. Read more…



KXXV | Erin Heft | Septemer 17, 2019

WACO, TX — Nearly a month after Baylor University clarified their stance on human sexuality, the university hosted a prominent LGBTQ+ speaker to hold "a conversation."

The renowned private Baptist university’s President Linda Livingstone clarified what the university distinguishes as human sexuality under their Student Policies and Procedures.

Nearly three weeks later, author, speaker, social activist and self-identified homosexual Christian Justin Lee was invited by the university, and hosted by the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, to hold a conversation entitled ‘Christianity and LGBTQ+ Persons.’

Hundreds of all ages were in attendance, filling every available seat in the room, consisting of, both students and the public. Read more…

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Baylor to host discussion LGBTQ Christian author Justin Lee

Waco Tribune | Rhiannon Saegert | September 16, 2019

A leading proponent of building bridges between churches and LGBTQ Christians will speak Tuesday at Baylor University, where debates over sexuality and faith have come to the forefront.

The Baylor School of Social Work is hosting a discussion with Justin Lee, a nationally known author and founder of the Gay Christian Network.

Lee will speak at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Lee, author of “Torn” and “Talking Across the Divide,” has been writing about his experiences as a gay Christian since the late ‘90s. He founded the Gay Christian Network, now called the Q Christian Fellowship, in 2001, later parting with the organization in 2017. In his Baylor appearance he aims to discuss the way the Christian churches have handled LGBTQ issues in the past and how to better address them in the present.

“I’m not coming to give a theological talk on same-sex marriage or anything like that,” Lee said in an interview Monday. “My goal is to be able to speak to Christians on all sides of the theological disagreements and just focus on how we take care of people who are, right now, not always being cared for.” read more…

Dakota Farquhar-Caddell: A word to our LGBTQ+ students at Baylor

Waco Tribune | Dakota Farquhar-Caddell | September 14, 2019

Some weeks have passed since Baylor University’s Aug. 27 letter on human sexuality, including its vow to “do more to demonstrate love and support for our students who identify as LGBTQ,” even as it also affirms “purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm.” In the spirit of trusting that open, honest, diverse and sometimes difficult dialogue in community may be one of our best hopes toward healing, I offer words I am teaching my children, the same words that God is spending most of my life teaching me.

To our students at Baylor who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and any other identity that doesn’t fall within the heterosexual, cisgender expectation: There is more than one single understanding of what is true. The belief that your identity is “non-biblical” is not shared by everyone at Baylor, and certainly not by the country or by the world. Many of us understand our collective, diverse human sexuality is not just “OK” but that this is one of the many sacred ways God works in the world. There are theologians, social workers, professors, pastors, entire churches (yes, even Baptist!), entrepreneurs, students, parents, farmers, scientists, community leaders, those on the left and those on the right who understand a different truth about you and a different truth about God than what is currently proclaimed through Baylor University’s policy stance. read more…

After Charter Denial, Baylor LGBTQ Group Pushes Forward

Dallas Observer | Silas Allen | September 16, 2019

For the last eight years, a group of Baylor University students has been trying to persuade the school to allow them to form an LGBTQ student group.

Earlier this month, the group got an official answer from the university. It wasn't the one they'd hoped for.

Baylor officials notified members of the student group Gamma Alpha Upsilon — or GAY — on Sept. 6 that the university was denying the group's request for a charter. A charter represents official recognition from the university, which would give the group access to student activity funds, allow them to reserve space on campus for meetings and allow them to advertise events on campus.

That notification came just days after Baylor President Linda Livingstone released a statement on human sexuality on the university's website. In it, Livingstone wrote that the university "affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God."

"Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm," Livingstone wrote. "Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching." read more…

New Semester, same frustrations for LGBTQ students at Baylor

Houston Chronicle | Brittany Britto | September 5, 2019

It may be the start of a new semester, but frustrations largely remain the same for many LGBTQ students at Baylor University.

After months of putting pressure on Baylor administration and its Board of Regents to meet with and formally recognize its LGBTQ student group, Gamma Alpha Upsilon, the students finally received a response from University President Linda Livingstone, but it wasn’t the one that they had hoped for, according to Hayden Evans, a second-year graduate student, outreach chair and treasurer for the group.

In a letter addressed to the university community on Aug. 27, Livingstone stated that “Baylor is committed to providing a loving and caring community for all students — including our LGBTQ students.”

But Livingstone pointed to the university’s newly launched webpage, which includes its human sexuality statement and sexual conduct policy in the hope of conveying the “university’s values and expectations.”

The statement notes that “the university affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God” and that “Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm.” Its sexual conduct policy also states that it is “expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching,” which include “heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.”

Livingstone further emphasized that the university is in compliance with Title IX as well as state and federal regulations in terms of the services and support it provides for LGBTQ students. read more… 

Baylor president's statement on LGBTQ issues stops short of student demands

Waco Tribune | Rhiannon Saegert | August 28, 2019

“Dialogue is part of academic life and can be useful. At the end of the day, this is an effort about real people who are in the Baylor family living their lives as dialogue about their civil rights is happening around them. Until all members of the Baylor family, including LGBTQ+ people, are afforded equal opportunities to participate fully in campus life and included in the dialogue, our work is not done. We and thousands of others look forward to helping Baylor move forward and urge it to adopt policies that are in line with its academic and athletic peers.” - BU Bears for All Founders

Baylor University President Linda Livingstone announced this week that the university will take steps to better support LGBTQ students, but recognizing unofficial LGBTQ student groups is not part of the plan. 

In an email Tuesday to students, faculty and staff, Livingstone stated Baylor students will not face disciplinary action for their sexual identity, and said that Baylor counselors do not practice or condone so-called conversion or reparative therapy to change their orientation.

Baylor officials have faced pressure in recent months from students and alumni who have petitioned them to recognize LGBTQ student organizations, and Baylor regents discussed related issues at a retreat this summer.

“During the course of these conversations, it has become evident to us that there are many misperceptions regarding Baylor’s stance on human sexuality and that there is more we can do to support our LGBTQ students,” Livingstone said in the statement Tuesday.

Baylor’s website now contains a page stating the university's LGBTQ resources are  compliant with Title IX, the federal law that bars gender discrimination on campus. The page states that students are not expelled or disciplined for same-sex attraction. In a frequently asked questions section, the site reiterates Baylor's official statement on human sexuality, which reads:

“The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm.” 

The page also states LGBTQ students seeking community support can find it through Baylor's counseling center, Baylor's Bias Response Team or the Department of Spiritual Life. 

“With this said, we understand that we must do more to demonstrate love and support for our students who identify as LGBTQ,” Livingstone's statement continues. “A common theme emerging from all of the aforementioned conversations is the need for us to provide more robust and more specific training for students, faculty and staff in loving, caring for and supporting our LGBTQ students.”

"We wish to point out that they have continued to ignore our requests and refuse to talk with us about the issues we face as LGBTQ+ students," they stated. "We have clearly outlined what issues we have found, in the petition written in April, that we wish to be addressed. In the email, the president has expressed interest in continuing the conversation and we would greatly appreciate the ability to establish this dialogue with her and other Baylor administration."

Kyle Desrosiers, a Baylor student who wrote about the issue in a Tribune-Herald guest column, called the statement a “callous lack of action.” read more…

Today’s Featured Article:

Baylor President releases"human sexuality statement" ahead of fall semester

KCEN | Paris Jones | Aug. 27, 2019

Livingstone began her statement emphasizing Baylor's commitment to all students.

"Let me be crystal clear: Baylor is committed to providing a loving and caring community for all students – including our LGBTQ students," Livingstone wrote.

She then announced the launch of Baylor's Human Sexuality Statement web page, which includes the university's unchanged statement on sexuality under the sexuality policy. 

The statement calls both "homosexual behavior" and sex outside of heterosexual marriage "temptations to deviate" from the biblical norms of "purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman."

The statement also says Baylor students will not be part of groups promoting ideas that go against those norms.

"It is expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching," the statement reads.

Livingstone said the university remains in compliance with anti-discrimination laws. read more…

Baylor President: "We Need To Establish Trust With our LGBTQ Students

KWTX, Aug. 27, 2019

While Baylor’s policy affirming “singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm” remains unchanged, the school “is committed to providing a loving and caring community for all students – including our LGBTQ students," university President Dr. Linda Livingstone said in a letter to students and faculty and staff Tuesday.

The letter comes as the unofficial LBGTQ group, Gamma Alpha Upsilon, tries again to win an official charter, which the student newspaper, The Baylor Lariat, reports, would allow the organization to rent Student Union Building rooms for meetings and to advertise on campus.

“Beginning in summer 2018, the University initiated conversations about how we could better support all under-represented students on our campus, including those who identify as LGBTQ,” Livingstone said in the letter.

“During the course of these conversations, it has become evident to us that there are many misperceptions regarding Baylor’s stance on human sexuality and that there is more we can do to support our LGBTQ students,” she wrote. read more…

New Web Page Affirms University Stance on Human Sexuality

Baylor Lariat | Matthew Muir | Aug. 28, 2019

Baylor University President Linda Livingstone voiced Baylor’s support for LGBTQ students but left university policy unchanged in a statement reaffirming the university’s views on human sexuality on Tuesday.

Baylor’s official stance affirms the school’s biblical view on human sexuality, including the view of both “heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior” as deviations from the norm. In the statement sent via email to students, faculty and staff yesterday, Livingstone responded to “an increased number of questions” regarding Baylor’s positions on sexuality and LGBTQ issues with a new web page on the Baylor website answering frequently-asked questions.

In her statement, Livingstone also said Baylor “must do more to demonstrate love and support for our students who identify as LGBTQ,” though no policy changes were announced. read more…

LGBTQ group sets sights on official charter

Baylor Lariat | Carson Lewis | August 23, 2019

The group is composed of Baylor students, has a president and officer positions and meets weekly for group activities. It functions in the same way as many Baylor clubs with activities like discussions and bowling nights. But this group of students can’t claim to have what other organizations have: an official charter from the university. That’s what they want to change.

Gamma Alpha Upsilon (ΓAY), an unofficial LGBTQ group on campus, is looking to the new semester with hopes of becoming an official chartered organization. Formerly known as SIF (Sexual Identity Forum), Gamma has functioned on campus since 2011 as an independent group with the purpose of giving a home to LGBTQ Baylor students and allies.

Members in the group expressed their appreciation and surprise last year from the support given to a letter sent by three Baylor alumni to administration which proposed acceptance for LGBTQ groups on campus. read more…

LGBTQ furor at Baylor at heart of Title IX law

Waco Tribune | Kyle Desrosiers - Guest Columnist | August 3, 2019

Over the past few months, thousands of people connected to Baylor University have called on Baylor’s leadership to reverse policies that deprive LGBTQ students of official recognition, protection and inclusion. Calls for change intensified this past spring after Baylor officials permitted flyers with inflammatory images aimed at LGBTQ people to be posted throughout campus while, at the same time, depriving LGBTQ students of any campus resources, official student organizations or support systems.

With the fall semester on the horizon, many Baylor students such as myself waited in eager anticipation as the Baylor Board of Regents met in Dallas last month at its annual retreat. In light of continued scrutiny regarding Baylor’s Title IX compliance and with a groundswell of alumni, students, faculty and faith leaders calling on the university to stop discriminating against LGBTQ students, would Baylor University’s leadership finally scuttle its discriminatory policies? Would it — as a group of Baylor students requested earlier this summer — at a minimum issue a statement denouncing conversion or reparative therapy on its campus?

Sadly, the answer turned out to be a resounding “no.” read more…

Students ask Big 12, NCAA to examine Baylor’s LGBT policies

Waco Tribune | Rhiannon Saegert | August 2, 2019

Baylor students have written letters to both the Big 12 Conference and the NCAA, asking the organizations to evaluate the university’s treatment of LGBTQ students.

“We write to you as current LGBTQ+ and allied Baylor University students and recent graduates who have been engaged in efforts to ensure that Baylor University’s campus is safe, secure, and hospitable to LGBTQ+ students,” both letters begin.

The authors of the letters include members of Gamma Alpha Upsilon, an unofficial student group that has been seeking recognition from the university since last year, as well as other current students and recent graduates.

“In recent months, LGBTQ+ students have faced particular targeting and harassment on Baylor’s campus, leading thousands of people with connections to Baylor University — alumni, students, parents, current and former faculty members, former trustees, ministers, and faith leaders — to ask that the university reverse its course of discrimination against LGBTQ+ students,” the letters state. read more…

Emerging Voices | Baylor Loves LGBTQ+ Students – To a Point

Ethics Daily | Madeline Sneed | July 11, 2019

The Baylor University community is divided over inclusion for LGBTQ+ students on campus.

Two petitions have come out of the conflict: one favors preserving Baylor’s nonaffirming stance of LGBTQ student groups with 110 signatures; the other asks Baylor to recognize LGBTQ student groups and to allow them to meet on campus with more than 3,200 signatures.

In response to the outpouring of support from the Baylor community for LGBTQ students, the Texas Tribune reported that Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for media and public relations, said “the 3,200 signatures represent about 2% of the school’s students, faculty, staff and living alumni.” read more…

Alivia Stehlik, guest columnist: Baylor University should allow students to be public about identities

Waco Tribune | Alivia Stehlik | July 8, 2019

When I was first accepted into the US Army – Baylor University Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy, it didn’t really matter to me that my degree would be from Baylor. I was more concerned about staying in the Army and caring for soldiers. However, over the last three years, far more people have asked me about being a Baylor Bear than about being a cadet at West Point.

Now, I’m proud of being a Baylor alumna, even waking up in the wee hours of the morning or staying up late into the night in Afghanistan to watch Baylor play. I’m grateful for the conversations it has started and the friendships it has granted with a host of intelligent, driven, passionate, caring people whom I otherwise would not have met. read more…

Paige Hardy graduated from Baylor with a religion and journalism major last week. In Ethics Daily, she writes about her experience as a sexual assault survivor and now as an advocate and ally for LGBTQ+ inclusion at Baylor and how the two experiences are related. Read her article here:

When You Need Christ's Love, Leave It To The Samaritans

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