The George Washington University’s Young America’s Foundation is being targeted as a hate group for requesting an exemption from LGBT sensitivity training.
It will request an exemption from participating in mandatory LGBT sensitivity training, should it be enacted on campus later this month.
The GW Student Association voted in favor of a series of bills last month that would publish a list of gender-neutral bathrooms and add a gender-neutral option to all office forms, in addition to the mandatory sensitivity training for student organizations.
The school’s YAF chapter has stated that, should this legislation pass, the organization will be requesting an exemption due to the religious beliefs of many of its members.
The YAF chapter’s president, Emily Jashinsky, was quoted in the GW Hatchet saying, “Mandated training is not really being tolerant of all religious beliefs. The way people who are deeply Christian behave is for a reason, and if you’re training them to change that behavior, there’s obviously a problem with that.”
In response to YAF’s statement, GW Allied in Pride issued a statement on its Facebook page:
“If GW YAF refuses to participate in safe zone trainings that are aimed at increasing safety and understanding, then they should be considered a hate group, and thereby, be revoked of all funding from the Student Association at The George Washington University.”
The group argues that because Young America’s Foundation is a political organization and not explicitly religious, it should not be allowed to seek an exemption. Jashinsky told the Hatchet that certain aspects of the training, such as promoting the use of alternative gender-neutral pronouns, would be incongruent with some members’ religious beliefs.
Allied in Pride recently issued an “Allied in Pride Queer Guide” at the school providing a list of preferred “non-binary prounouns,” such as “they/them,” “ze/hir” and “xe/xir.”
It also called YAF’s refusal to use preferred gender pronouns “an act of violence” and a violation of the GW non-discrimination clause.
Jashinsky emphasized that YAF does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and that LGBT students are welcome to be a part of the organization as long as they are aware and respectful of all of the religious values of its members.
The Young America’s foundation, an organization that promotes conservative values on college campuses, is known for its right-leaning views and activism events. George Washington University’s YAF chapter has received backlash for its views before. Last spring, its on-campus pro-life display of several hundred crosses representing lost lives of the unborn was vandalized.
At the end of its statement, GW Allied in Pride added that GW YAF’s decision to bring former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum to campus as a speaker “underscores their intolerance and pattern of hate” and that the actions of YAF “prove that these trainings need to exist.”