Statement from the Diversity and Equity Center Directors - Life Point Church at Shelbyhurst Campus

Sadly, many of the earliest anti-LGBTQ+ messages LGBTQ+ people encounter come from the religious institutions they grow-up in. These can be so painful, and for some it can take a lifelong journey to unpack and heal from. For others, these messages can become internalized and can play a key role in the alarming high rate of suicidality in LGBTQ+ youth. Reconciling these messages with LGBTQ+ people’s personal relationship with religion and spirituality is another lifelong journey. These anti-LGBTQ+ messages have also been used in political realms to deny LGBTQ+ people their civil rights. These messages are a key factor that lead to 40% of youth who live on the streets identify as LGBTQ, many report their family kicking them out due to their beliefs. Lastly, conversion therapy, which is greatly denounced by psychological and therapeutic institutions, holds these tenets at the core of their approach. This is why it is painful and disappointing to see Lifepoint Church hold space at the University of Louisville. Providing space to an organization that has openly stated they believe marriage is “only between a man and a woman,” and “we welcome all people, even though we don’t affirm all lifestyles,” we believe is not in line with the CARDINAL values. We believe these values and messages support the stereotypes and bias that leads to discrimination and do not uphold diversity, inclusion, or equity as staples of our community guidelines to let everyone know, “you belong.” How, exactly, can we welcome someone if we do not also affirm them? While we believe everyone’s personal beliefs are their own to explore and hold, and we recognize how important it is to have University space be one that is open for many voices to find a platform, we also want to let our LGBTQ+ University of Louisville, and Louisville community at large, know that we acknowledge the pain these messages cause and the harm they perpetuate. The values of those who rent spaces do not represent the values of the University. Free speech is an important value to uphold, however, that does not mean we avoid acknowledging the harm and impact this speech causes. We hope to communicate the beautiful vibrancy of LGBTQ+ lives, we affirm your life, we value not only welcoming you but also affirming you, we uphold equity and anti-discrimination, and celebrate these lives with Pride.

Additionally, here are resources for anyone who is hurting from these messages:

UofL Counseling Center: 502-852-6585 If you are in crisis, please call us at 852-6585 M-F between 8:30am and 4pm. Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860 Trevor Project Lifeline: 866-488-7386 Trevor Space Social networking site National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 Seven Counties Services: 502-589-4313 or 800-221-0446 Metro United Way: Dial 211


 Bláz Bush – Director of the LGBT Center at the HSC

 Valerie Casey – Director of the Women’s Center

 Dwayne Compton – CDO and Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Diversity at the School of Medicine

 Lisa Gunterman – Director of the LGBT Center at Belknap

 Ryan Simpson – Program Director, HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion

 Enid Trucios-Haynes – Director of the UofL Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice

 Marian Vasser – Executive Director of Diversity & Equity