Azusa Pacific University, a private, Evangelical college in Azusa, CA decided to lift their "no same-sex relationships on campus" ban. As someone who attended a private Catholic college (albeit a rather progressive one), I'm pleased to know that more and more places are becoming inclusive of LGBTQ people. APU teaches the approximately 10,000 students that they take in annually that Christ is supreme over all and, being an Evangelical university, the staff teaches based on the Bible. However, there are LGBTQ students who attend APU and they thought that the ban on same-sex relationships was discriminatory.
The underground LGBTQ group, Haven, met in secret for years (much like early Christians when Christianity was heavily persecuted, an apt comparison) to spread acceptance of LGBTQ individuals and have their voices heard after a hate crime occurred involving anti-LGBTQ slurs against a faculty member. The members of Haven discussed this incident as well as how they felt it unfair that LGBTQ students were singled out for being in romantic relationships, as APU's code of conduct implied that all same-sex romantic relationships were intrinsically sexual.
Continuing the comparison, the students, like a modern Emperor Licinious met with Dean of Students, Bill Fiala, who represents a modern Emperor Constantine to discuss the changes in APU's code of conduct and agreed that LGBTQ students would no longer be singled out, like how Christians were no longer persecuted following the Edict of Milan. Sexual relationships between same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples are still banned. The removal of the ban, however, is definitely a good sign, as it shows that people are open to change and can have an open mind about people who are different from them.
In addition to the ban lifting, APU legitimized Haven and created safe spaces for LGBTQ students. These safe spaces were put in place to promote APU's mission of love, acceptance, and inclusivity, as well as to create conversation surrounding homosexuality, which may lead to increased acceptance of LGBTQ students.
Lifting the ban is definitely a step in the right direction, but we can't forget about when my fellow Instinct writer, Randy Slovacek, wrote about Clarks Summit University not allowing a gay man to finish his studies. These contrasts reveal an unpleasant truth: LGBTQ people in the US and across the globe are continually being discriminated against for being who they are. While there have been great things being accomplished by and for the LGBTQ community, there is still a long way to go before we reach equality.