Trans Student Says Christian College Suspended Him After Surgery for Rejecting 'God's Design'

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Yanna Awtrey, a transgender university student, had long awaited breast reduction surgery, but the operation ended up getting him kicked out of his Christian college, he says.

After the procedure — known as "top surgery" — Awtrey said he shed tears of joy. "I full-on started bawling and crying because this was something I want the last 10 years of my life," he told WTVF.

The student at Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee, said he was going to stay with a Christian couple to recuperate from his surgery, but when they learned the specifics of his operation, they told him he wasn't welcome anymore, he said.

Last year, a classmate outed him, he said, but campus officials told him to keep quiet.

"I wasn't allowed to have an opinion when something was talked about, when others made transphobic jokes or teachers made transphobic jokes," he said. "Those things would hurt me, but I wasn't allowed to comment on it."

When the school learned of his surgery, he said, he was kicked out of the dorm and later suspended.

The college is private, and therefore not subject to public university discrimination laws. 

The institution's president, Matt Pinson, issued a statement, saying changing one's gender is "rejection of God's design for humanity."

"Welch College believes that individuals experiencing such confusion — and the distress that usually accompanies it — should be treated with love and compassion. The College also believes that attempting to alter one’s bodily identity constitutes a rejection of God’s design for humanity. The College is also aware that such attempts all too rarely deliver on their promises to alleviate psychological and emotional suffering. The College thus invites all transgender individuals to trust fully in Christ and experience renewal in the gospel.

"We will continue to pray for all people experiencing gender confusion while also honoring the values of this institution and its sponsoring denomination, which are shared by the Christian tradition over two millennia," the statement said.

The college added that it would pay for lodging and for for Awtrey while he recovers.

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