Last week, H. Adam Ackley, a theology professor at Azusa Pacific University, was encouraged to resign after 15 years of distinguished service to the school when he told administrators that he was transgender. The school is an evangelical Christian university outside of Los Angeles that Soulforce has visited on its Equality Ride, and has worked with students at the school attempting to improve campus conditions for LGBTQ students and faculty.
Ackley was asked to resign despite not having broken any school policies. The reason the University cited was that his "privacy" should be protected as he transitions from female to male, and that this process might be confusing to students, parents, or donors of the University.
Ackley has expressed that he feels free and ready to live his life openly, but has strong pastoral concern for how his students might be taking the University's decision.
We stand with Adam Ackley in his requests to the school for the following:
1.) That Ackley be allowed to complete the semester instructing his students, helping them process and learn from his transition.
2.) That the University honor its commitment to cover Ackley's medical benefits, including doctor-prescribed hormone treatment and the modest, outpatient "top surgery" procedure he requires for his gender transition.
3.) That the University make clear by what policy they dismissed Ackley, and that his dismissal had nothing to do with any misconduct as a professor.
Furthermore, Soulforce stands in support of students, faculty, and staff, who have received a toxic message that the broad diversity of gender expression is somehow shameful, wrong, or "against God's will."
Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director of Soulforce said, "We absolutely stand with Adam, this extraordinary teacher, pastor, and person of faith. But, like Adam, our deepest concern is for the students and faculty of this campus where the administration has now publicly sanctioned an anti-LGBT climate. The administrators say that students will be "confused" by the transitioning of a transgender person when, in truth, the students are not confused at all. It is the administrators that are confused, and intolerant, of the range of sexual and gender expression that we recognize as integral to the Creator's design for humankind and all nature."
Soulforce is committed to freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people from religious and political oppression through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information about current Soulforce projects and past actions, see www.Soulforce.org .