A Texas high school student and vlogger says his private Christian school principal threatened to expel him if he didn’t go back in the closet.
Five months ago then 16-year old Austin Wallis, a junior in high school, posted his first YouTube video. It was a heart-warming coming out story that’s received hundreds of thumbs-ups and just five thumbs downs. In his coming out video Wallis, who comes across as intelligent and caring, says he recorded the video to “contribute back” and “help a few people too” so they can feel “safe” as other coming out videos made him feel.
Fast forward to now.
Wallis is 17 and a high school senior. He says in his latest videoÂ â€“ there are 29 in totalÂ â€“ that the principal at his private Christian high school demanded he remove all his videos and other social media posts, that he go back in the closet, and that if he refused he would be expelled.Â
He says that when he came out last year, “I knew I was going to have bullies and I knew people were not going to be okay with it. But I never expected it to be from the people who were supposed to protect you from the bullies. Who were supposed to try to stop that. And then they themselves are the bullies.”
Why not go back in the closet?
“I don’t want people to think that I left just because of the social media. It was because I can’t stay somewhere where I feel like I’m being forced into something that I’m not, or I feel like I’m not wanted by my own principal… I’m not a bad student. I really want to try and change this. I think it’s ridiculous that in this day and age you can be excluded from your own school for being gay.”
Being a private school, Wallis’ rights were probably not legally violated.
So, he left the school on his own terms, and found another school to attend days later.
Wallis, who is brave, and seems quite considerate and kind, makes clear he does not want the faculty, some of whom he says made him feel loved, to have to suffer so he’s not naming the school or the school principalÂ â€“ a brave decision, albeit one that long term may not help in his quest to “Be The Change” for the better, as he says.
“I feel like you should be able to have Christian beliefsÂ and still feel like everybody belongs,” Wallis says. “I go there to express my faith. I am a Christian and I love my god, and I don’t feel this is what he would want. I don’t feel like excluding someone for who they are is anything Christian, I feel like it’s the opposite.”
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Harvey Weinstein Guilty of Sexual Assault Including Rape
Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of two counts sexual assault and not guilty of sexual predation by a jury in New York. He was found guilty on one count of rape and not guilty on another. Allegations made by two women are the foundation of the case. More than 100 women have accused Weinstein of various acts of sexual misconduct, including rape.
BREAKING: Harvey Weinstein convicted on 2 out of 5 counts – criminal sexual act in the 1st degree and rape in the 3rd degree
— James Queally (@JamesQueallyLAT) February 24, 2020
“The jury in New York convicted Weinstein, 67, of third-degree rape against former aspiring actress Jessica Mann, as well as a count of criminal sexual act in the first-degree against former production assistant Mimi Haley,” NBC News reports. “But the jury found him not guilty on the two most serious counts, predatory sexual assault, as well as a count of first-degree rape against Mann.”
Weinstein could “go straight to jail,” former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Cynthia Alksne said.
On Friday the jury said they were unanimous on some of the five charges but deadlocked on others. The judge asked them to continue deliberating, which they did Monday morning, quickly reaching a conclusion after five days.
UPDATE: 12:30 PM ET –
Judge has remanded Weinstein into custody without bail.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
US Supreme Court Agrees to Decide if Taxpayer Funded Religious Adoption Agencies Can Discriminate Against LGBTQ People
The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear a case that could determine if taxpayer-funded religious organizations, including adoption and foster care agencies, can legally discriminate against LGBTQ people. Monday morning the conservative-majority court agreed to hear Fulton v. Philadelphia, which is being litigated by the far right wing Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Catholic Social Services is claiming it has a First Amendment right to discriminate against same-sex couples and LGBTQ people, – including refusing to allow them to adopt or foster children – while still accepting taxpayer funds.
The City of Philadelphia stopped using Catholic Social Services because its policies violated the rights of LGBTQ people.
The agency “argued that its right to free exercise of religion and free speech entitled it to reject qualified same-sex couples because they were same-sex couples, rather than for any reason related to their qualifications to care for children,” the ACLU wrote in 2018.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals had decided in favor of Philadelphia, ruling that the city “was neutrally enforcing a nondiscrimination policy that applies to everyone. The city hadn’t targeted the nonprofit group based on hostility to its religious beliefs, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said,” according to Bloomberg Law.
Catholic Social Services is claiming they have been “targeted” by the city and its officials, who are attempting to “coerce” them into changing their “religious practices.”
The Trump administration has not only changed the face of the nation’s top court into one that is decidedly of the far right, but it has made promises and advanced polices to ensure religious adoption and foster care agencies will be allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
Student With Two Moms Banned From Writing Paper ‘Taking a Stand’ in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage
A family in Michigan is speaking out after their daughter, a high school junior, was banned from writing a paper in favor of same-sex marriage for an honors English class where the assignment was to “take a stand” on an issue of great cultural importance.
The teacher, whose name the school district will not release, first said the topic was too controversial and might offend some students. She then confessed she did not want to read or hear about marriage equality, according to MLive and The Advocate.
17-year-old Destiny McDermitt said she wanted to write her paper, which would also be read as a speech, on same-sex marriage because her mothers are married. Angela McDermitt-Jackson and Chris Jackson married in 2015 just months before the U.S. Supreme Court found same-sex couples have the same rights and responsibilities to marriage as their different-sex peers.
The assignment sounds bold, but the teacher made sure it could not be.
“For every generation in every country, every day, there are issues upon which an individual can take a stand,” the assignment description reportedly reads. “This assignment asks you to think about what concerns you in your community, your state, your country, or the world.”
Students were not allowed to choose “anything that is awkward or inappropriate for a school audience.” The topic of abortion was banned, but the school district’s guidance says controversial subjects can have a legitimate place in learning.
Several students wrote letters to school administrators to support their classmate, destiny, and to complain that the teacher said she did not want to read or grade a paper on same-sex marriage.
Destiny has opted to move to a different class with a different teacher.
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