A transgender student at a Christian university is going to battle over his right to live in the male dorm, something the university is staunchly against.
Jaycen, who goes by ‘Jayce,’ is currently a sophomore at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, and has been undergoing a female-to-male transition over the last couple of years. In one of the final stages of his transition, next week, a judge will issue a court order affirming his gender, allowing him to change his gender on his driver’s license, birth certificate and with Social Security.
Jayce filed a sex discrimination complaint against the university on Friday, claiming the university won’t allow him to live in the all male dorm. Last December, Jayce told the school administrators about his wish to live with his male friends. But the university is against it.
“George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single gender because of our theological commitments,” the university said in a statement. “The student’s request to switch from female-only on-campus housing to male-only on-campus housing is one that many institutions would struggle with.”
George Fox was founded by Quaker pioneers more than 115 years ago. Quaker theology emphasizes social justice and diversity, but the rights of transgender students are still being debated.
The school is reportedly planning to adopt a new policy that ensures that housing decisions are made soley on biological birth sex.
In the meantime, the university gave Jayce two options for the upcoming school year. He could either live in an off-campus apartment with male roommates, as long as he legally changed his gender and informed his roommates’ parents about his gender change. The other option was to live in a single room on campus, with the university promising to make sure he was still connected to the larger student body.
“Jayce, I’m glad you’re at Fox and I want to continue to see you be successful here,” Mark Pothoff, Dean of Community Life, wrote in a letter obtained by PQ Monthly.
Jayce wasn’t satisfied with either path.
“While I appreciate university administrators meeting with me regarding my housing requests, their ultimate decision makes me feel rejected, misunderstood and punished for something I cannot change,” Jayce said. “It also makes me anxious and nervous about where I’ll be able to live next year — and the year after that — especially if their housing policy based on ‘biological birth sex’ goes into effect.”
Jayce’s mother, Janice, has started a Change.org petition, asking George Fox to stop denying her son’s on-campus housing request.
“As Jayce’s mother, I am deeply concerned by George Fox University’s decision,” Janice said. “I want Jayce be safe and feel included in the campus community.”
The petition has more than 1,000 signatures so far.
In response to the petition, George Fox University issued a statement saying they were “disappointed in how the situation has escalated.”
“George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single sex because of our theological commitment,” the response said. “The university has researched the student’s attorney’s legal claims and believes they are without merit, especially given the religious nature of the university.”