The following communication was sent to Brown School students, faculty and staff on June 30, 2023.
Dear Brown School Community,
We must express great umbrage over the recent Supreme Court decision that prioritizes religious freedom over the basic rights of the LGBTQ+ community. This ruling affirms that one can legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals under the guise of safeguarding the First Amendment. It opens the door for a potential flood of discrimination – beyond the LGBTQ+ community – under the banner of religious freedom. This is a troubling precedent that threatens to erode the ever-diminishing social cohesion of our nation.
Religious freedom is indeed foundational to our nation and should be protected. However, it should never be wielded as a shield for bigotry or intolerance. The sanctity of religious freedom loses its meaning when it fosters discrimination.
The Supreme Court has in effect reinforced the perception of LGBTQ+ individuals as ‘others’ and as ‘less than human.’ This will undoubtedly lead to continually-increasing violence perpetrated by those who feel emboldened by this decision and their religious freedom to physically assault those who are perceived as queer. It legitimizes the rapid dehumanization of the LGBTQ+ community, an action that we cannot and should not tolerate.
As we have shared previously, we are witnessing an unsettling surge in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and the associated hate crimes. The Human Rights Campaign, a notable nonprofit advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, has declared a first-ever “state of emergency over the increasing wave of legislation it deems to be harmful. A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League and GLADD reveals a distressing increase in harassment, vandalism, and assault.
This decision is an affront to the Brown School’s principles of equality and justice. It is a blow against the LGBTQ+ community, legally turning them into second-class citizens by allowing businesses to refuse them service based on who they love. This is a dark day in American history, one which future generations will look back on with incredulity.
Even in the hardest of times, we must not falter in our commitment to inclusivity and respect for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is our duty to continue the fight against hate and discrimination, and to ensure that all individuals can live in a society where their basic human rights are acknowledged and protected.
In these troubling times, it is more important than ever to extend kindness and empathy to one another. We are particularly grateful that Washington University in St. Louis is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for its LGBTQ+ community, and offers a range of resources and support to ensure that all members of the community feel safe, valued, and respected.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you require support or assistance.
Tonya and Rodrigo
- Habif Health and Wellness Center is passionate about providing high quality services that are affirming of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
- Lavender Circle Weekly Process Group for the LGBTQIA+ Community
- Gender Identity Consultations and Hormone Therapy: For students over 18 years of age, Habif can provide recommendation letters and insurance referral if needed. We work with the Washington University Transgender Center.
- LGBTQ+ Healthcare Resources: This guide is designed to assist health professionals with finding health and research information related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-questioning communities.
- Counseling services are being offered through the Habif Health and Wellness Center. Call 314-935-6695 or email the mental health coordinator at MHSCoordinator@wustl.edu.
- TimelyCare physicians and counselors are available to students 24/7. Learn more about TimelyCare and download the app.
- Let’s Talk – Brief, drop-in consultations with Habif counselors via zoom
- If you are concerned about a friend or another student you know, you can contact WashU Cares at 314-935-3566, or sharing information through the WashU Cares referral form.
- There are great resources and support through Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
In addition, we welcome conversations with you to help you navigate these resources. If you would find this helpful, please contact:
- Da’Shaun Scott, Assistant Director for Student Engagement, Dashaun@wustl.edu
- Elise Harvey, Academic and Student Support Services Advisor, email@example.com
- Ragini Maddipati, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs, firstname.lastname@example.org, (314) 935-4185
Faculty & Staff Resources: