Being Gay at a Fundamentalist School

What would it be like to be gay in the intense world of fundamentalist higher education?

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Brandon Ambrosino shared his story of coming out at fundamentalist Liberty University.

Being gay is not okay in the world of conservative evangelical Protestantism, but Ambrosino’s story describes a faculty and administration that loved him as a person, first and foremost.  When Ambrosino told a favorite professor about his sexual identity, the professor replied this way:

“I love you,” she said. I stopped crying for a second and looked up at her. Here was this conservative, pro-life, pro-marriage woman who taught lectures like “The Biblical Basis for Studying Literature,” and here she was kneeling down on the floor next me, rubbing my back, and going against every stereotype I’d held about Bible-believing, right-leaning, gun-slinging Christians.

This professor was not an outlier.  Everyone from the Bible-thumping-est theologian to the Liberty therapist focused on their love for Brandon.  Not in the hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner way, either, but just in the love-the-person way.

Ambrosino concludes that fundamentalists don’t fit the “hate” stereotype.  There is hate all around, perhaps, but religious conservatives haven’t cornered the market.  As Ambrosino concludes,

I think the really vocal anti-gay Christians display this smidge [of hate], but I also think the really vocal anti-Christian gays display it as well. Not tolerating someone for his narrow-mindedness is perhaps the epitome of intolerance. I learned from my time at Liberty that this bigotry happens on both sides: not only were there some Christians who wanted to stone some gays, but there were even some gays who wanted to stone a few Christians. Just the other day, I saw a man driving a car with two bumper stickers. One was a rainbow. The other showed a picture of a lion, and contained the caption “The Romans had it right.” Just another open-minded gay man, I suppose.



Leave a comment


  1. Patrick

     /  April 6, 2013

    I wish these sorts of stories received publicity more often. Most conservative Christians I know definitely do not fit the “hate” stereotype either. Examples abound (i.e. Thanks for sharing.

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