Join us on Friday, January 27 at noon AZ time (MST) to hear about the work of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP).
At many religious colleges and universities, LGBTQ+ students suffer discrimination, abuse, and hardship. REAP empowers queer, trans and non-binary students at more than 200 taxpayer-funded religious schools that actively discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Through civil rights litigation, storytelling, oral history, research and public policy, we work towards a world where LGBTQ students on all campuses are treated equally, with safety and respect.
REAP prevents the erasure of LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities at predominantly white, Christian, non-affirming colleges and universities, by empowering, organizing, and supporting LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC students on these exclusionary campuses, working to transform these spaces into authentic, affirming, and safe environments. Not only does our work support and empower at-risk LGBTQIA+ & BIPOC youth on these campuses, it attacks the very essence and roots of white Christian supremacy at one of its most significant points of formation: college.
Paul Carlos Southwick (he/him) is the Director of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project. As a youth, Paul attended a conservative Christian college, George Fox University (05′), in Newberg, Ore., where he was subjected to conversion therapy and struggled to survive as a Christian who, in the words of his community, experienced “same-sex attraction.” Paul graduated from the University of Michigan Law School (’09) and now advocates on behalf of LGBTQ+ youth at religiously affiliated educational institutions like his alma mater.
In 2015, Paul testified before the Oregon legislature in support of a successful ban on conversion therapy. He has represented many LGBTQ+ students in trailblazing legal cases before the U.S. Department of Education, in court and through mediations. Prior to serving as the Director of REAP, Paul spent ten years as a litigation attorney at a major law firm. Paul has been recognized as one of the Best LGBTQ+ Attorneys Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association and as a “Queer Hero” by the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest and Q Center.
Paul lives with his husband in Portland, Oregon.
Erin Green (She/They) is the Campus and Alumni Organizer for REAP. They are an affirming biblical scholar and LGBTQ+ activist. Erin has a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Azusa Pacific University and an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Their specialties are in the entire Christian biblical corpus with an emphasis on the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Near East, exegesis, and how to employ various hermeneutical methods. Erin’s passion is helping those excluded by the church to heal from spiritual abuse and trauma by navigating the biblical text in restorative ways.
Erin is best known for their work in supporting LGBTQ+ students on conservative, Christian university campuses and in religious spaces.