NEW YORK (AP) — Shua Wilmot and Raegan Zelaya, two former dorm directors at a small Christian university in western New York, acknowledge their names are unconventional, which explains why they attached gender identities to their work email signatures.Wilmot uses “he/him.” Zelaya goes by “she/her.”
Their former employer, Houghton University, wanted them to drop the identifiers in line with a new policy for email formats implemented in September. Both refused and were fired.
“My name is Shua. It’s an unusual name. And it ends with a vowel, ‘a,’ that is traditionally feminine in many languages,” Wilmot said in a nearly one-hour video he and Zelaya posted on YouTube shortly after they were let go last month. “If you get an email from me and you don’t know who I am, you might not know how to gender me.”
Ongoing culture wars in the U.S. over sexual preferences, gender IDs and transgender rights have engulfed politics, school campuses and many other facets of public and private life. At least 17 Republican-led states have severely restricted gender affirming care. Debates continue to rage in some communities about school curricula mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity. And pickets have sprung up outside public libraries hosting “drag story hours.”
Meanwhile, controversies swirl at campuses with religious affiliations. The recent firings prompted more than 700 Houghton alumni to sign a petition in protest.
In the Northwest, 16 plaintiffs are suing Seattle Pacific University, a Christian …
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