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How can you be LGBTQ+ at an evangelical university? In secret

It took one weekend to leave Tessa Russell truly exposed.

On 6 April 2019, her girlfriend Ash Ables traveled to Liberty University in central Virginia to surprise her. They had been dating for four months, but it was her first time visiting Russell on campus.

The two were eating pizza in front of the TV when Russell’s resident adviser (RA) swiped into the room, catching the couple off guard. Because same-sex relationships are effectively verboten at the evangelical Christian school, Russell immediately tried to pass the relationship off as platonic.

Her resident adviser wasn’t buying it, and ordered Ables to leave campus. Russell frantically reached out to her Liberty LGBTQ network, and the couple crashed at a friend’s apartment.

Then Russell’s cellphone rang. Her RA demanded that she return, saying the two “could not be together”. Feeling that she didn’t have a choice, she left Ables and went back to

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How can you be LGBTQ+ at an evangelical university? In secret | Christianity

It took one weekend to leave Tessa Russell truly exposed.

On 6 April 2019, her girlfriend Ash Ables traveled to Liberty University in central Virginia to surprise her. They had been dating for four months, but it was her first time visiting Russell on campus.

The two were eating pizza in front of the TV when Russell’s resident adviser (RA) swiped into the room, catching the couple off guard. Because same-sex relationships are effectively verboten at the evangelical Christian school, Russell immediately tried to pass the relationship off as platonic.

Her resident adviser wasn’t buying it, and ordered Ables to leave campus. Russell frantically reached out to her Liberty LGBTQ network, and the couple crashed at a friend’s apartment.

Then Russell’s cellphone rang. Her RA demanded that she return, saying the two “could not be together”. Feeling that she didn’t have a choice, she left Ables and went back to

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Texas board OKs sex education policy update, but rejects push to acknowledge LGBTQ students

AUSTIN, Texas — New Texas sex education standards that include teaching about birth control, not just abstinence, starting in middle school, won final approval Friday from the State Board of Education.



a group of people sitting at a desk: Students at Gullet Elementary in North Austin in 2019 learn about the functions of a family as part of the Austin school district's human sexuality and responsibility curriculum.


© ANA RAMIREZ/Austin American-Statesman/TNS
Students at Gullet Elementary in North Austin in 2019 learn about the functions of a family as part of the Austin school district’s human sexuality and responsibility curriculum.

While overhauling the sex education curriculum, as part of revamping health standards for the first time in two decades, the board rejected a push to acknowledge LGBTQ students.

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Despite a strong push from Democratic board members, as well as 27 total hours of testimony from parents and students across three meetings this year, the Republican-controlled board rejected attempts to have curriculum standards define gender identity and sexual orientation.

The standards, which guide textbook content as well as instruction in the state, will go into effect

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Texas approves sex ed program omitting LGBTQ and consent education

In the Texas State Board of Education’s first comprehensive amendment to their sexual education policy since 1997, the board made a decision that will effect how middle school students learn about sex, according to Aliyya Swaby at the Texas Tribune.



a group of people sitting at a table


© HARRY CABLUCK, STF / AP


The changes to the policy will not include education on sexual orientation, gender identity or the concept of sexual consent.

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The board heard from advocacy groups and educators on forthcoming changes to protocol. The 15-member, Republican-controlled body took a preliminary vote Wednesday to overhaul the minimum standards for what Texas students learn about health and sex, a process that has taken more than a year, the Tribune reported.

In September the board gave preliminary approval to include birth control in the program but leave education about sexual orientation out of it.

On Wednesday, the board held a lengthy debate surrounding whether or

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State Board of Education OKs new sex ed curriculum excluding LGBTQ youth, consent

The state Board of Education is inching closer to approving new sex education standards for the first time since the late ‘90s, giving initial approval on Wednesday to a curriculum that expands contraceptive education in middle school but declined to acknowledge LGBTQ individuals or define consensual sexual activity.

The 15-member, GOP-controlled board will vote on the curriculum for a final time on Friday.

The board’s November meeting is the culmination of a months-long process to update the state’s health curriculum, which included soliciting formal recommendations from groups of professionals and hearing more than 24 hours of public testimony on the subject. The updated standards — last revisited by the board in 1997 — will go into effect in 2022.

Wednesday’s discussion largely reiterated talking points that board members took up during their September meeting, when they first gave preliminary approval to the updated curriculum. The most heated debate concerned sexual

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New Texas sex ed policy still doesn’t cover LGBTQ students or consent

Starting in 2022, seventh and eighth grade students in Texas will learn about forms of birth control beyond abstinence, but middle schoolers still won’t have to learn about the importance of consent or the definitions of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Over the last several months, panels of educators and medical professionals formulated recommendations to overhaul the health and sex education policies. The Texas State Board of Education, which determines what 5.5 million Texas public school students learn, has heard from hundreds of educators, advocates and experts across the state throughout the process.

The 15-member Republican-dominated board took a preliminary vote Wednesday to overhaul the minimum standards for what Texas students learn about health and sex, a process that has taken more than a year. It will take a final vote Friday. This marks the board’s first thorough revision to its sex education policy since 1997, and will affect millions

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