The following letter is written by Tom Apostolacus. Tom is from Downingtown, PA and is a junior at Eastern University double majoring in Theology and Philosophy with a minor in Gender Studies.
Hey Dr. Duffett,
I’m going to be quite frank with you. I am livid. I am scared. I do not feel safe. My name is Tom Apostolacus. I’m a 3rd year student at Eastern, studying theology, philosophy, and gender studies. I also identify as genderqueer.
Your recent request to opt out of federal anti-discrimination laws is audacious, albeit utterly unsurprising. You have outed yourself as uncaring and egregiously ignorant. I was hoping the administration had hired a president who had the well-being and safety of Eastern’s students and faculty in mind, but instead justified my cynicism and skepticism towards everyone around me, including towards you. You have chosen to side with an oppressive majority and ignored how these actions contribute to harboring a hostile and terrifying environment for queer people, such as myself, on campus and in society at large.
I have had multiple Christians tell me, “If you don’t like it, leave,” which is also the reason I stopped going to church. You are partaking in a culture that cuts out queer people and fortifying a metanarrative which demands that we not exist. I don’t want to have to leave, but I will drop out or transfer schools if you and the administration continue to refuse to take a stand for the oppressed. So much for “Faith, Reason, and Justice,” I guess.
Did you ever wonder why it is that the student handbook misrepresents queer people and demonizes us, yet doesn’t consider that to be slander (which is grounds for dismissal of a tenured professor). Do you not think you and the rest of the administration ought to be fired for defending slanderous norms? Is there some delusion that comes with authority that makes you think we ought not also start a petition for your impeachment?
At this moment, I hold a great amount of disdain for Eastern’s terrifying neglect of its queer students and faculty. Your recent actions reflect a direct indifference to our lives. Cisheteronormativity is in direct opposition to the principles of Christ. We are the ones Christ blessed, while you and almost everyone around us continues to curse and slander us. Y’all will forever say you care, but it never reflects in your actions. And until you make a positive and bold repentance, I will constantly nag and censure you and the administration about your demonic behavior.
And don’t give me the “freedom of religious choice” cop-out. Religious choices can impede upon the safety of others. Your choices are never abstracted from having social impact. So, I implore you–for the love of God, for the love of queer lives, for the love of anything that is just–disavow your request to discriminate against us and stand up against oppression.
If you’d like to talk more about this, I can’t say I’d be happy to (who would be happy talking about their oppression?), but I am willing to. I live near campus so I can meet in person too.
a severely pissed off and scared student
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” — Matthew 6:24″