Meet Devin Bryant, a 17-year-old high school senior of Colleyville, Texas. Bryant had attended Covenant Christian Academy since pre-school until he found himself expelled earlier this year. The reason: he’d come out as gay.
According to The Dallas Observer, Bryant’s year began innocuously enough, with the senior following a school tradition by preparing special artwork for his school parking space. The design he submitted consisted of a list: “Super Hot, Fun, Attractive, Fast-driving, Insane, Very Smart, Outgoing, Party Freak, Young, Gay (as in happy don’t worry lol), Pretty, Reckless, Humble, Pyromaniac, Fun, Gay (as in homosexual this time, sorry) Person Parking Only.”
Not long after submitting the artwork, Bryant found himself called to the principal’s office.
“I then had a meeting with the principal in which we discussed the content of the artwork, which I agreed to change,” Devin told the Observer. “And I promised to not be as vocal about my sexuality for the rest of the year.”
Then things got even worse. Four days into the school year, his mother Consolata Bryant got a call from the school. Devin had been personally expelled by the school headmaster, Dr. Tony Jeffrey.
“If I would’ve come out and said that I was ‘struggling’ with same-sex attraction instead of saying that I’m gay, I think they would’ve had a totally different reaction, and I may have been allowed to still attend there,” Bryant adds. “The fact that I identified as gay is what they didn’t like.”
Consolata, Devin’s mom, fingers Dr. Jeffrey as the chief architect of Devin’s expulsion for discriminatory purposes. “Despite the resolution we had reached, [Jeffrey] had taken it upon himself within the couple of days he had been at the school to seek votes from the board for Devin’s expulsion,” Bryant’s mother says. “He secured the votes needed and thus was calling to let us know that Devin was not to report to school that Monday, the 10th, with his classmates. His exact words were that Devin had chosen an evil path that was contrary to the Bible and therefore was evil and he was only doing what Jesus would do. He offered us parent counseling. Not Devin, though.”
In other words, for those keeping track, Jeffrey essentially admitted to expelling Devin for being gay, not for any behavioral or academic infraction. The headmaster himself also appears to admit as much in a statement of his own.
“This Covenant Christian Academy enrollment document, signed annually, specifically outlines practices and behaviors consistent with the CCA mission, based on our deeply held religious beliefs,” Dr. Jeffrey said in an email to the Observer. “That includes adhering to the biblical principal [sic] that the expression of human sexuality is appropriate only within the boundaries of a marital relationship between one man and one woman. It also states that prohibited moral misconduct includes maintaining a lifestyle not consistent with applicable biblical standards.”
“Devin Bryant is an outstanding student,” Dr. Jeffrey concluded, “and we wish him every success in his studies, and in life.”
Following the kerfuffle, Devin Bryant has enrolled at Colleyville Heritage High School where he attends honors courses.
The case of Devin Bryant is just the latest in a rash of discriminatory practices by “Christian” educational institutions against LGBTQ people. Earlier this year, a 15-year-old student in Kentucky was expelled from her school for wearing a rainbow sweater. In September, a teacher was fired from a Christian school in Indiana for marrying another man. Furthermore, the Trump Administration has asserted in front of the Supreme Court that businesses and other private institutions should have a right to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans on the basis of faith.