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The Biola Queer Underground 

We're Here, We're Queer, and We Aren't Going Anywhere. 

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Why We Can't Include Everyone in the Biola Queer Underground

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 12:10 AM

Hello fellow Biola Students!


We at the Biola Queer Underground want to explain our side of a complaint that we have heard among Biola students about our group. When we were first launched, a number of people who identified as homosexual strugglers contacted us and asked for the possibility of joining to discuss different views on homosexuality. When these people contacted us, we usually responded with something along the lines of “while we understand where you are at, we do not believe that our group will help you at this time”, and left it at that. That may not have been our best move, but we are all learning and growing in this process. We would like to address those people now more in depth and explain our responses further.


The first thing that we want to say is that we are very sorry if it seemed like we were blowing you off, or excluding you further from conversation. That is the last thing that we intended to do and we would never want to do that, as we know how painful being excluded can be. Hopefully this letter will explain a little more why we chose to respond the way we did, instead of being open to you joining us and meeting the group as a whole.


The main thing that steered our choice is that many of those who contact us seem to want to talk things out and figure out where they stand on the topic of LGBTQ identity.  While we want to do that and believe that is very important, our exclusive group does not tend to debate biblical principles. The students who are involved in Underground tend to have very similar beliefs on biblical principles regarding homosexuality and transgender identity, so we when do get together to talk, we do not spend much time exploring those biblical passages and talking about them in depth. This is similar to how in upper division bible classes, there is not a lot of delving into the Biblical principles that were established in introductory classes. It is more of an underlying understanding. While this may change in the upcoming semesters, the students in BQU come to our group wanting affirmation, friendship and relationships with people who will not judge them, and simply love them where ever they are at.


Which brings me to our next point: BQU is not simply a place for those with same-sex attractions. Everyone in the group also believes that openly LGBTQ students should be allowed to attend Biola. If someone attended the group who believed we rightfully should be expelled, we would feel uncomfortable and the group would no longer be a safe and anonymous space for students to join. We do not want to make our group one of discomfort where either side feels like they have to hide their true feelings and beliefs.


I can promise you very strongly once again that none of our messages were sent out of malice or anger, and we in no way intended to alienate anyone, although we acknowledge that it might have happened. For that, we apologize and although we still stand by our decision to keep our group a safe place for our members. We are thinking through a few ideas about how to include a safe place for questioning, and will hopefully be enacting something in the next year. Best wishes to every Biola student, and we hope you all have an amazing semester.


Love,


The Biola Queer Underground

Categories: Statements, Letters

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7 Comments

Reply James O
6:04 PM on July 14, 2013 
Amazing how you against exclusion for LGBTQ folks at Bioloa but you are not open to others who feel differently then you do joining your group, I get you wanting like minded people, but that is Biola says, they want people dedicated to their mission statement. You want ONLY people committed to your mission statement. Strange bedfellows, pardon the pun. Its so hard not to be a hypocrite for the Biola folks or the underground.
Reply PV
12:32 PM on April 12, 2013 
Jennifer, thank you for this post. It explains in a thoughtful and cogent way several questions that were troubling me.

Jennifer Lingenfelter says...
I am a Biola grad (Rosmead 2001) and an out lesbian, with an amazing partner and 3 amazing kids. I agree with BQU's stance. At this point in time, LGBT relationships and Hetero relationships are NOT treated equally, no matter what the administration tries to say. It is common and accepted for Hetero couples to have romantic relationships at Biola, hold hands, and even kiss in public without fear of expulsion, or a meeting with Danny Paschal or others in Student Life. The only "rule" is - no sex until marriage. For LGBT students, however, that is not the case. Student Life claims they will not expel anyone for being LGBT, but if they had a romantic relationship that included any public displays of affection - holding hands, kissing,etc.. I am almost sure, with 99% certainty, that they WOULD be reprimanded, and/or would end up having a meeting with Danny Paschall. While I don't hold that against Danny individually because he works for an institution that wants him to do that, it makes the case for the need to have a safe space for the BQU, who do feel comfortable having romantic relationships with other LGBT people. I agree that until the standards ARE equal for LGBT people who are dating, but not sexually active (as is the case for heteros), BQU has a right to be more protective of their space and be more selective of who they let into the group. I also want to be supportive of those who choose celibacy, gay or straight. However, it is interesting to me, that I don't see too many straight people choosing celibacy as an option. Whereas for the "accepted" LGBT folk on campus, as long as they agree to celibacy as the only way, they are ok. For me, if celibacy is so great, why doesn't Biola hold more chapels and conferences (James Dobson too) pushing more heteros, who have the choice to marry, to choose celibacy? And, for those who ask the "why did you come to Biola if you knew their policy against LGBTs"? Well, psychologically, its very developmentally appropriate for a person NOT to be settled in many areas of identity during their college years, including their faith, their sexuality, political affiliation, and many, many others. If that all WAS settled in high school, we probably wouldn't be having this issue at all. What does happen, is that during college, many people do start to have the freedom to ask questions and explore all of the things they previously were "told" were true, about themselves and others, their faith, their families, and including what is "right" and "wrong" about sexual expression.

As far as having room for dialogue about the Biblical passages, etc.. or discussions between those who believe celibacy is the only option, etc. I think those are good ideas. But maybe that should be done in the context of a club focused on dialogue around those issues. Not the BQU - they are already settled on those issues. It would be cool if some alumni (I'd be willing) and/or others - including chapel speakers, or others, who don't have to worry about losing their jobs, or being kicked out of Biola as a student, could facilitate a group like this. Then there would be lots of room for safe dialogue there, because no one has to worry about getting kicked out or losing their jobs during the course of the discussion. Just my two cents.
Reply Jennifer Lingenfelter
3:08 PM on March 30, 2013 
I am a Biola grad (Rosmead 2001) and an out lesbian, with an amazing partner and 3 amazing kids. I agree with BQU's stance. At this point in time, LGBT relationships and Hetero relationships are NOT treated equally, no matter what the administration tries to say. It is common and accepted for Hetero couples to have romantic relationships at Biola, hold hands, and even kiss in public without fear of expulsion, or a meeting with Danny Paschal or others in Student Life. The only "rule" is - no sex until marriage. For LGBT students, however, that is not the case. Student Life claims they will not expel anyone for being LGBT, but if they had a romantic relationship that included any public displays of affection - holding hands, kissing,etc.. I am almost sure, with 99% certainty, that they WOULD be reprimanded, and/or would end up having a meeting with Danny Paschall. While I don't hold that against Danny individually because he works for an institution that wants him to do that, it makes the case for the need to have a safe space for the BQU, who do feel comfortable having romantic relationships with other LGBT people. I agree that until the standards ARE equal for LGBT people who are dating, but not sexually active (as is the case for heteros), BQU has a right to be more protective of their space and be more selective of who they let into the group. I also want to be supportive of those who choose celibacy, gay or straight. However, it is interesting to me, that I don't see too many straight people choosing celibacy as an option. Whereas for the "accepted" LGBT folk on campus, as long as they agree to celibacy as the only way, they are ok. For me, if celibacy is so great, why doesn't Biola hold more chapels and conferences (James Dobson too) pushing more heteros, who have the choice to marry, to choose celibacy? And, for those who ask the "why did you come to Biola if you knew their policy against LGBTs"? Well, psychologically, its very developmentally appropriate for a person NOT to be settled in many areas of identity during their college years, including their faith, their sexuality, political affiliation, and many, many others. If that all WAS settled in high school, we probably wouldn't be having this issue at all. What does happen, is that during college, many people do start to have the freedom to ask questions and explore all of the things they previously were "told" were true, about themselves and others, their faith, their families, and including what is "right" and "wrong" about sexual expression.

As far as having room for dialogue about the Biblical passages, etc.. or discussions between those who believe celibacy is the only option, etc. I think those are good ideas. But maybe that should be done in the context of a club focused on dialogue around those issues. Not the BQU - they are already settled on those issues. It would be cool if some alumni (I'd be willing) and/or others - including chapel speakers, or others, who don't have to worry about losing their jobs, or being kicked out of Biola as a student, could facilitate a group like this. Then there would be lots of room for safe dialogue there, because no one has to worry about getting kicked out or losing their jobs during the course of the discussion. Just my two cents.
Reply Brian McKelvey
7:42 AM on March 27, 2013 
As an out, gay, Christian Biola Alumnus, is there any way I can help with this, specifically?
Reply Susie
1:30 PM on March 25, 2013 
Agreed, even though it means some may feel excluded, given the perilous situation for openly LGBT+ students on campus, it is critical that Biola Underground be very careful about who they let in. Plus, the hostile environment at Biola makes that safe, debate-free, supportive space all the more necessary for LGBT+ students. Other places for debate and wrestling with one's one sexuality exist, at least off-campus if not (informally) on-campus. If the Biola Underground can safely provide such a resource to students, that's wonderful, but I can see how, given the situation, that might be very difficult. (Unless it were to be run exclusively by alumnae or by Christian LGBT+ students at other colleges on behalf of the Biola Underground -- that might be safe. And if I lived in the area, I'd volunteer!)
Reply Don Mueller
12:31 PM on March 25, 2013 
Very well said. BQU must remain a 100% safe, supportive and confidential space for BQU students until the day that Biola administration clear states in writing that LGBTQ students are welcome among Biola's student body and will not be expelled, discriminated against or disciplined in any way. They must also clearly state that LGBTQ relationships will be treated with the same standards as heterosexual student relationships. Until the administration is willing to take this stand for true equality for ALL students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, LGBTQ students are forced to remain silent and anonymous and the BQU must continue to protect its members.
Reply Sean C Capener
3:27 AM on March 25, 2013 
I think this is a really good and important move.