Brown School Reaffirms Dedication to LGBTQ+ Rights and Support

Alumni; Faculty; Social Work; Students

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
Interim Co-Deans

LGBTQ+ Resources:

Student Resources: 

In addition, we welcome conversations with you to help you navigate these resources. If you would find this helpful, please contact:

Faculty & Staff Resources: