A Christian college in Tennessee has
suspended a transgender student just hours after getting top surgery.
Welch College is a private school in
Gallatin, Tennessee. It is associated with the National Association
of Free Will Baptists.
According to BuzzFeed
News, Yanna Awtrey, 21, had not formally come out as
transgender when he started at Welch. He said that he had experienced
gender dysphoria since puberty and began hormone replacement therapy
earlier this year. On August 2, he underwent top surgery.
Awtrey planned to stay with a couple
who knew his parents following the surgery. They in turn informed his
parents and the school about his procedure.
Within hours after the surgery, Jon
Forlines, vice president for student services at Welch, reportedly
emailed Awtrey to let him know that he would not be allowed to come
back to his dorm.
“Please be aware that because of the
choices you have made we will not be able to allow you to come back
to the dorm,” Forlines wrote. “We're praying for you that the
love of Christ will speak to your every need in the coming days.”
After Awtrey declined to voluntarily
drop out of school, Welch held a disciplinary hearing.
Forlines told members of the
disciplinary committee that Awtrey had violated the school's policy
barring “any kind of sexual immorality, impurity, including the use
of pornography” and “engaging in acts of sex immorality,
including premarital and extramarital relations, sexual advances and
sexual perversion in any form.”
A member of the disciplinary committee
told Awtrey that the “trigger phrase” was the “sexual
Awtrey was suspended for two semesters.
He told BuzzFeed that he did not believe he would be welcomed
back after that.
“There's just a lot of people that
say everything's all right now for transgender people and LGBT
people, and my situation very much says that that is not the case,”
he told the outlet.
In a statement given to The
Hill, Welch College President Matt Pinson declined to comment
on Awtrey's case, but said that the college “believes that
attempting to alter one's bodily identity constitutes a rejection of
God's design for humanity” and that it would continue to pray for
“all people experiencing gender confusion.”