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Posted on Jul 31, 2014

Christian home for at-risk youth fires top caregiver for being gay

Casey Stegall is a full time college student in Texas who has long been devoted to helping kids who are in need. Having worked for a year as a caregiver to abused and neglected youth at the Children's Home of Lubbock as, in the words of his supervisor, one of the best employees she'd ever seen, Casey was fired by the organization's president, Lynn Harms, for being gay.

According to the group's website, the Children's Home seeks "to make life better for children who need to see that caring and love do exist in a world that has often been unfair and unjust." Casey's dismissal, unfortunately, sends a contradictory message.

Casey's direct supervisor noted that, with the help of Casey's efforts (which included spending his weekends serving as a parental figure), the kids demonstrated their best behavior yet.

However, after Casey's fiancé helped chaperone a group trip to a local water park, Harms told Casey that as a result of his "inappropriate behavior," Harms felt Casey's "lifestyle choices were detrimental to the kids' health."

Casey, who says he never introduced his fiancé as such and has never engaged in public displays of affection for fear of backlash, was not given an opportunity to defend himself against Harms' allegations and was terminated from his position. These aspects have been misreported by numerous outlets.

The Children's Home is a faith-based organization and receives reimbursement funds from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. One of the state's leading family rehabilitation programs, the Children's Home emphasizes what they call "spiritual training" and regularly integrated worship.

Harms told a regional news outlet that keeping Stegall on staff would have "put a confused message out there [that] is counterproductive…to implementing life training and so forth—particularly with children."

He stated in a interview with the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, "If you want to try to force our culture to meet your expectations, that’s not going to go well.  I don’t feel like the culture here has to meet an individual’s desire for the world to be different.” Harms also admitted that numerous employees have also been previously fired for their identities.

The organization is affiliated with the Church of Christ and Casey consistently participated in the program's religious aspects, including taking the kids to chapel every weekend. Raised Baptist but kicked out of the church when he came out as gay, Casey and his fiancé remain dedicated Christians and are active members in the Metropolitan Community Church, an evangelical LGBT denomination.

“I read the same Bible you read, I believe in the same God you believe in," said Casey.

It's in the MCC community that Casey has found support when few other resources have been made available to him.

Casey is extremely concerned for LGBT kids who are afraid to come out for fear that they will be banished like Casey was.

He is also now determined to make sure other people who are LGBT are protected against workplace discrimination. There are no statewide policies to such an effect in Texas. Currently, only six cities and one county protect workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation—though religious organizations like the Children's Home are exempt from these laws.

"I have no ill feelings toward anybody at the children's home," Casey told KLBK News. "I'm not out to hurt anybody there. I'm wanting to get the word out, because Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Plano, they've all passed laws protecting LGBT people in the workforce, and I would like that here in Lubbock."

Though Mayor Glen Robertson said he "would be open-minded" to "look at" protections for LGBT workers "if anybody brought that issue forward," and is "surprised that there isn't a federal or a state law regarding that," Texas' Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott have expressed strong anti-LGBT sentiments on a range of issues.

President Obama's recently-signed executive order protects federal workers who are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans; but people can still be fired in 32 states for their sexual orientation and in 29 for their gender identity.

Check out Casey's interview with KLBK News:

July 31, 2014
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Posted on Jul 31, 2014

GLAAD Link – your daily round-up of LGBT news, July 31, 2014

Today's top LGBT news headlines. For more news updated throughout the day, visit www.glaad.org

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Boy Scouts of America national commissioner says gay men aren't predators - Gay Star News

Uganda rapper lashes out after getting banned from UK venues over "burn the gays" lyrics - Gay Star News

Owner of camp accused of starving, torturing, killing gay teens defends himself - Gay Star News

The declining wage gap for gay men - The Huffington Post

Amnesty International calls for Chelsea Manning's release - Washington Blade

Advocates stage Capitol Hill sit-in demanding LGBT inclusion in immigration reform - BuzzFeed

Former Facebook pres. billionaire Sean Parker making huge donations to anti-gay republicans - The New Civil Rights Movement

Uganda court hears challenge to anti-gay law, could rule as early as tomorrow - Towleroad

In historic first, US appeals court to hear marriage equality ban cases from four states on same day - Gay Star News

LOCAL/REGIONAL

The Rainbow Girl Scout troop that actively welcomes children from LGBT families - Gay Star News

Utah language school fires blogger for writing about "homophones" - PinkNews

Oregon lesbian couple sues cab driver who left them stranded - PinkNews

Texas AG is latest to claim anti-gay marriage laws protect children - The Advocate

California briefly has first openly gay governor - Gay Star News

Florida police arrest man suspected of burning trans woman to death - The Advocate

Police investigating stabbing of transgender teen on Washington Metro train - BuzzFeed

North Carolina couple who stood up against an anti-LGBT rally gets married in Washington DC - BuzzFeed

COMMENTARY

PHOTOS: LGBT celebs on the bless and cures of aging - The Advocate

Why you shouldn't fear coming out later in life - The Huffington Post

Trans in America - The Huffington Post

40 LGBT friendly picture books for ages 0-5 - Autostraddle

A woman, a Black person, and a lesbian all walk into a bar at the same time. It ended horribly - UpWorthy

ENTERTAINMENT

WATCH: Australian model Ruby Rose comes out as gender fluid - The Advocate

Cast changes for third season of Orange is the New Black - Gay Star News

HRC takes on MichFest - The Advocate

Report: Hate group leader's appearances plummet on CNN and MSNBC, hold steady on Fox News - LGBT Weekly

SPORTS

First trans football player: FIFA's lack of trans guidelines is unfair - PinkNews

Brittney Griner's season with Zhejiang Golden Bulls documented in ESPN short film - The Huffington Post

Skateboard legend Tony Hawk is speaking in favor of marriage equality - Gay Star News

To submit a story for possible inclusion in GLAAD Link, click here.

Sign up for GLAAD Link emails

July 31, 2014
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Posted on Jul 30, 2014

GLAAD Link – your daily round-up of LGBT news, July 30, 2014

Today's top LGBT news headlines. For more news updated throughout the day, visit www.glaad.org

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Russia to revive Soviet Eurovision alternative to protest gay "madness" of Conchita win - PinkNews

China: Gay "cure" clinic sued by advocates in landmark move - PinkNews

Smart phone app Whisper brings continued LGBT youth persecution to light - The New Civil Rights Movement

10 US senators urge Obama to take Nigeria and Uganda to task over anti-LGBT laws - Gay Star News

Former "ex-gay" activist backs away from past, now supports GLAAD - The Advocate

LOCAL/REGIONAL

Michigan Democrat introduces law that will ban gay "conversion therapy" - PinkNews

Equality Michigan petitions Michfest to end exclusionary policy - The Advocate

The most lesbian/bi tidbits from San Diego Comic-Con 2014 - AfterEllen

First ever Mississippi mayor to support equal marriage to retire - PinkNews

Wyoming marriage equality lawsuit will be allowed to go to trial - PinkNews

Inside LES with an LGBT equality historian - The Huffington Post

ACLU of North Carolina on 4th circuit marriage ruling: The time to act is now - Towleroad

Colorado Supreme Court tells Boulder County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples - PinkNews

Nevada TV station gives transgender nine-year-old a platform - PinkNews

WATCH: Ohio's first pro-marriage equality ad in a decade - The Advocate

COMMENTARY

Why is drug use higher in the gay community? - PinkNews

To be black, trans, and brilliant: Lourdes Ashley Hunter - The Huffington Post

The New Yorker's skewed history of trans-exclusionary radical feminism ignores actual trans women - Autostraddle

Femslash can save the world if we let it - Autostraddle

The 24 realest Tumblr posts about being a lesbian - BuzzFeed

ENTERTAINMENT

Camp Abercorn parallels boy Scout summer camp - Out

VIDEO: Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj--"Bang Bang" - Towleroad

SPORTS

To submit a story for possible inclusion in GLAAD Link, click here.

Sign up for GLAAD Link emails

July 30, 2014
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