Jaycen, who goes by ‘Jayce,’ is currently a sophomore at the Christian college in Newberg. He has been undergoing a female-to-male transition over the past few years.
Next week, a judge will issue a court order affirming his gender, allowing him to change his gender on his driver’s license, birth certificate and with Social Security.
But when Jayce asked school officials in December if he could live with his male friends during the upcoming school year, George Fox denied his request.
Now, Jayce is fighting to live in male housing and has filed a formal complaint against the college, alleging discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in violation of Title IX.
“The university’s decision makes me feel rejected, misunderstood and punished for something I cannot change,” Jayce said. “It also makes me anxious and nervous about where I’ll be able to live next year, and the year after that.”
Jayce said the university is proposing a housing policy based on “biological birth sex,” which would mean if he wanted to live on campus, it would have to be with women.
“I feel like I deserve to be treated better, so I am asserting my rights under Title IX,” he said. “I am a man. I deserve to be treated like any other man on campus.”
According to the complaint, George Fox University did “conditionally approve” Jayce to live off-campus with male students during a one-year exception.
The school also said the Jayce could live in a single room on campus, but according to the complaint, that option “would harm him psychologically and socially and make it impossible for him to receive a safe and quality educational experience at George Fox.”
Jayce’s mother, Janice, has started a Change.org petition, asking George Fox to stop denying her son’s on-campus housing request.
(From the petition: “Being a religiously-affiliated school does not mean having to be unwilling to hear Jayce’s story, see past preconceived notions of sex and gender and respect him for who God made him.”
“As Jayce’s mother, I am deeply concerned by George Fox University’s decision,” Janice said. “I want Jayce be safe and feel included in the campus community.”
The petition has more than 1,000 signatures so far.
In response to the petition, George Fox University issued a statement saying they were “disappointed in how the situation has escalated.”
(From the University’s statement: “Out of respect for the student’s wishes, university staff refers to the student using the masculine pronoun. At this time, the student has not legally changed genders. On many occasions, the student has expressed to Student Life staff that he has felt safe, listened to, supported and cared for at George Fox – by students, faculty and Student Life staff. He has acknowledged that this is why he has chosen to remain at the university.“)
“George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single sex because of our theological commitment,” the response said. “The university has researched the student’s attorney’s legal claims and believes they are without merit, especially given the religious nature of the university.”
From Title IX:
Section 1681. Sex
(a) Prohibition against discrimination; exceptions. No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, except that:
(3) Educational institutions of religious organizations with contrary religious tenets
this section shall not apply to any educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization if the application of this subsection would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization;