No Gay Students At My College, Chancellor Proclaims

There are no gay students at Patrick Henry College, the evangelical school in Purcellville, Virginia, popular among families who homeschool and known for its students’ prowess in debate. The tiny religious college (it has around 320 students) cannot have any gay students because, says its chancellor and founder, Dr. Michael Farris, students must sign an honor code and [homosexuals] could not sign our honor code.” The honor code requires that students “be sexually pure,” Farris says in the Loudoun Times.

Accordingly, Farris was none too pleased to learn about Queer at Patrick Henry College, a blog that some former Patrick Henry College students began last summer to provide a “safe online space for closeted students and alumni to share thoughts about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) issues, without the risk of school punishment.”

Yes, Patrick Henry College Has Gay Students

Given the college’s honor code, and the attitude of its chancellor, Patrick Henry College is hardly a place where students seeking to understand their sexuality would feel accepted, let alone comfortable to discuss this openly. The blog’s co-founders write under pseudonyms that refer to gay figures from popular culture (blogger Kate Kane’s name recalls “Katherine Kane,” the name of DC Comics’ LGBT superhero, Batwoman; blogger “Alan Scott” uses the name of another DC Comics gay superhero, the Green Lantern; Captain Jack echoes that of the gay “Jack Harkness” from the BBC’s “Doctor Who”). While the bloggers’ identities are hidden, at least one has proof of being a Patrick Henry College graduate, says the Loudoun Times’ Trevor Baratko; in an interview with ”Kate Kane,” she showed him her Patrick Henry College diploma.

Acknowledging that the college’s environment can be at times “very oppressive,” Scott says that the blog “wants to make sure [students] know they aren’t alone and that it is possible to both accept one’s queerness and continue strongly in one’s faith.” Blogs at other Christian colleges including BJUnity at Bob Jones University in South Carolina inspired Kane and Scott to start Queer at Patrick Henry College.

As for why a student who is LGBT might attend an evangelical Christian college, Kane tells Baratko that “…I know for me, if my parents were going to sign off on a loan for school, it had to be fundamentalist college.” Scott emphasized that he had “learned a lot” at Patrick Henry College and that, even more, the school’s “encouragement to face the tough questions and not be afraid of the answers that actually helped me come to terms with my sexual orientation and reconcile it with my faith.”

Scott is hopeful that the controversy can be the start of students having “mature, open, honest and loving conversation about LGBTQ issues at PHC” and without “fear of reprisal, rejection, or shaming.”

Chancellor Makes Legal Threats and Then Withdraws Them

At first, Farris sought to instill just such fears. On December 1, he sent Queer at Patrick Henry College a message through their Facebook page, stating that

“This page is in violation of our copyright of the name Patrick Henry College…. you must remove this page at once. On Monday, we will began (sic) the legal steps to seek removal from Facebook and from the courts if necessary. In the process of this matter we can seek discovery from Facebook to learn your identity and seek damages from you as permitted by law. The best thing for all concerned is for you to simply remove this page.”

The next day, Farris withdrew his legal threats and — again through Facebook — said that,”While we believe in the inappropriate nature of the use of our trademarked name, we believe that litigation is not appropriate.”

Farris is himself a constitutional lawyer (he ran unsuccessfully to be lieutenant governor of Virginia in 1993). As things are turning out, his postings on Facebook have resulted in Queer at Patrick Henry College getting quite a bit of attention, and of a national sort, rather than resting in obscurity, says  in the Washington Post. The Loudoun Times cites an anonymous campus source who says that the blog has become “all anyone [was] talking about” on campus. Queer at Patrick Henry College has also been blocked on the college’s WiFi with far more vigilance than any site ever has.

For all that, Farris says that Queer at Patrick Henry College is a “hoax,” his and his college’s every effort to deny that there are gay students has fueled not only awareness but discussion. Will dissent be next and even a change of Patrick Henry College’s discriminatory policies, to make the school one that stands by its own statement that “all are precious and equal in [God's] sight”?

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Photo from Wikimedia Commona


Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla5 years ago

Thanks for posting, anyone deserves to study whereever they want!! I should not matter religion, gender, politic views....

Susan Allen
Susan Allen5 years ago

Exactly Bartley D. And on top of that, everyone should keep in mind that the "bible" was not even created until Emperor Contantine ordered that an "ecumenical bible" be written. Constantine wanted a bible which would be acceptable to pagans as well as christians. Constantine was a Roman Emperor who lived from 274 to 337 A.D. and is most famous for becoming the single ruler of the Roman Empire and supposedly converting to christianity. It is debated whether or not Constantine was actually a believer (according to his confessions and understanding of the faith) or just someone trying to use the church and the faith to his own advantage. Constantine called the Council of Nicea—the first general council of the christian church, 325 A.D.—primarily because he feared that disputes within the church would cause disorder within the empire. It was determined by the council that Christ was homoousios, meaning, one substance with the Father. So, in reality and in essence, we have this power hungry idiot Constantine to thank for all the religious BS today. If it had not been for Constantine, the different christian sects probably would have killed each other off and some other religious entities would have reared their ugly heads.

Bartley Deason
Bartley Deason5 years ago

Susan A. Said:
"The bible, the supposed word of god, has been interpreted and translated so many times, with each human involved putting their spin on it, that even if there were a god and such a person as Jesus, the "word" is certainly not what it originally was thousands of years ago. Get real.

Amen, Susan.
It reminds me of a game played in high school, The teacher has 10 students stand in line next to each other. The teacher then whispers a simple sentence into the first students ear and asks that student to whisper the sentence into the ear of the next student in line. By the time the tenth student repeats out loud what the sentence was, it has completly morphed.
When I say the word "blue", does everyone listening see the same blue as i see?
The human language is a real bitch for communicating personal ideas to others. Each word has a different meaning to the people hearing it. How the hell can a novel written so many years ago and translated so many times still be considered true to the original is something I just cannot fathom. And considering that there are numerous christian sects (Catholic, Mormon, Babtist, Jehovah's witness, etc.) each creating their own version of the "original" bible, how can we expect words from ~ 2000 years ago to have any meaning today?

rene davis
irene davis5 years ago

what a homophobe!

Stephen B.
Stephen B5 years ago

Christopher M: One need not be Christian to believe in God. Two faiths that immediately
come to mind are Judaism and Islam. The former accepts the Old Testament, the latter accepts that Jesus was a great prophet, but does not believe He is God.

Bruno Moreira
Bruno Moreira5 years ago

noted thanks

ANGIE Harper
angie Harper5 years ago

hahahahahahahaha! bonk, the sound of me laughing my head off........

Pamela W.
Pamela W5 years ago

Looks like Farris "shot himself in the foot" ..... serves him right !!
He's a fool .... and couldn't have been a very good lawyer either if he didn't check his "ground" before issuing the threat. I wonder if Virginia are heaving a sigh of relief that he didn't become Lieutenant Governor in 1993 ???

paul m.
paul m5 years ago

How does he know ...!!

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago