In this blog, my goal is to shed light what Young Life believes to be appropriate and acceptable ideas communicated by Young Life leaders. I was supposedly terminated for telling students that I was gay. Although no Young Life staff witnessed that communication, and it was never significant enough to discuss with me as a reason for my termination, Young Life staff decided that it was significant enough to discuss with students and parents. In the letter of termination I was sent on October 16th, 2015, it was the sole reason stated for my termination. Ann Shackleton, Senior Vice President of Human Resources later denied that that letter was ever sent, so if we follow that logic this reason was never even brought to my attention until a year and a half later when I met with Danielle Eylander. Although we discussed the letter in length, she later denied everything that was said during those two meetings.
Although Young Life claims that I was terminated for a communication they never witnessed, discussed with me or brought to my attention, Danielle Eylander confirms in this excerpt that a Young Life leader would not be terminated for expressing homophobic ideals, both in Young Life settings and non- Young Life settings. A Young Life leader can even call a student gay in a derogatory manner in a Young Life setting and still be allowed to lead.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bullying is alarming. In fact 9 out of 10 LGBT students reported being harassed and bullied last year.
- Over one-third of LGBT students are physically assaulted at school because their sexual orientation and gender identity are different than those of heterosexual students.
- About two-thirds of LGBT students reported having ever been sexually harassed (e.g., sexual remarks made, being touched inappropriately) in school in the past year.
- Over half of all students report hearing homophobic remarks often at school. More than 30% reported missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.
- LGBT students at schools with comprehensive policies on bullying and harassment are much more likely to report harassment to school authorities who, in turn, were more likely to respond effectively.
- The average GPA for students who were frequently physically harassed because of their sexual orientation was half a grade lower than that of other students.
- LGBT students are twice as likely to say that they were not planning on completing high school or going on to college.
- Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
The language used against LGBT students is unconscionable. LGBT Students, like any other students deserve to be treated with tolerance, respect and dignity because the reality is, it should never matter what your sexual orientation or identity is.
Me: Umm yeah, I don’t know. Like that’s a whole other issue, the Scott [Didrickson] things, that’s unacceptable.
Danielle Eylander: I know.
Me: And to think that I was terminated for what I said, because that’s inconsistent with Young Life’s mission, and what he said is consistent, that’s a problem, that’s a big problem.
Danielle: Yeah, it is.
Me: And what Micah [Humann] has said to me
Danielle: But Micah [Humann], what? We can’t terminate leaders for- I mean, I am not excusing that behavior at all, at all. Like, that’s appalling. And Micah [Humann] has said things in the past, but just, that’s a young college aged leader, that’s not a staff person, and he’s not saying that to kids.
Me: Oh my god, are you serious?
Danielle: No, I don’t, I’m not saying
Me: It doesn’t matter if he’s saying it to kids, like, that’s his mentality.
Me: You want someone like that leading kids?
Danielle: No, but you can’t, the thing is, that’s not like, it’s like, he can still communicate. That to me, I don’t have power over that. I’m talking about, I remember one time he said he wasn’t gonna sing a sing because [student name] sang it and he’s like ‘[that student] is gay.’ And I remember thinking, we communicated you cannot- but I remember thinking he’s a college freshman from a small town outside of Spokane, I’m not gonna hold his experience like against him and be like ‘well you can’t lead at all,’ but we communicated you cannot talk like that, like that’s not loving or caring , and I have heard other things that he’s said. I mean, I cant, that, him saying that, that’s all not ok, but-
Me: Well, but that sends a message to all the kids- what I’m always concerned about is the message the kids are getting- the message is like ‘It’s ok for a leader to say that, but it’s not ok to say that you’re gay.
Danielle: But if he were to ever say that-
Me: He did say it.
Danielle: In a Young Life setting, we can’t control what everyone says outside of Young Life, but if he would have ever said that to kids or in front of Young Life staff or anything, I would think that would, I mean, I don’t know for sure, but if you’re concerned why would you post it? That’s the thing, if you’re concerned about how kids receive that message, why would you post it? Why did you make it public?
[This is the epitome of ignorance. Throughout history, people who have spoken up about discrimination have been accused of “playing the victim card,” “causing drama,” and “creating division.” The response of an ignorant person/ organization is to focus on silencing people who speak up rather than correcting the inappropriate behavior.]
Me: Because it’s part of my story, to show how gay people are treated and to show what’s accepted and not accepted, and you’re showing that him saying that is acceptable.
Danielle: I’m not saying that its acceptable. I have disdain for what he said.
Me: Well then I think you have a responsibility to do something about that.
Danielle: I don’t. I don’t have a responsibility. Honestly, I have no power.
Me: Well then who does? Everyone just passes the buck, and there’s no one who’s actually accountable. The whole problem is, there’s such a double standard, like only gay people have to be held accountable, and no one else has to, everything else goes. That’s the message that kids get- like my leaders can- all the leaders are having sex, all the leaders are getting drunk all the time.
Danielle: We’ve let go of leaders, I don’t know why you don’t think we’ve let go of leaders, we do.
Me: I now, I know.
Danielle: And I even have a different idea about whats appropriate to share up front at Young Life than Young Life does. But its like, I don’t have- I don’t want to pass the buck, but I have tried to get people let go, but I don’t have power. It doesn’t come down to me, and I don’t think what Micah [Humann] said is ok, and that is not, he does not, like everything someone does, the organization doesn’t have a say over.
Me: Ok, so there’s- it doesn’t matter.
Danielle: Well I mean but do you, I don’t know.
Me: Like, that’s like, do you see the message? Because I still think it comes down to being gay. Like it’s not ok to communicate, or it’s inconsistent with Young Life’s beliefs or whatever to communicate to kids like it’s ok to be gay and you can still be Christian and all that, but it is ok to say what Micah [Humann] said, and like even if.
Danielle: But it’s not ok to say what Micah [Humann] said.
Me: But by punishing or reprimanding one and not the other, that is like sending a message to kids.
Danielle: [Personal portion removed] I don’t know if Micah [Humann] was talked to or reprimanded, like I don’t know. You’re assuming that he said that and he was allowed to say that and like that wasn’t a discussion at all. That’s your assumption. Like, leaders don’t have to be perfect. Like I’m not saying, it’s fine, he’s not perfect. It is not ok that he said that. I have personal, like, I love Micah, but I have personal difference of opinions with him, but I also don’t want to be judgemental of him. Like,
Me: But do you see, like, it is literally dangerous to have kids around, way more dangerous to have kids around someone who thinks like that and is able to say those things, than it is to have kids around someone who is openly gay.
Danielle: And I agree.
Me: So if the goal is ‘keeping kids safe,’ then
D: Yeah, but the organization is- you need to ask. You’re assuming that’s it. Like ask.
Communications from Micah Humann:
Dude, your obviously monitoring what is posted here for whatever gain you to feed your anger and hate.,
I know the whole REAL story. You freaking CAME OUT during cabin time to a group of kids?!?! How selfish are you?!? What on gods green earth think that’s ok? I don’t care where you fall on this subject.
You were wrong. You were selfish. You got called out. Now youre mad.
Get over it?!? Seriously, anger is going to eat at you forever. So, you don’t agree. Great. Stop crying and go live your life.
[The whole REAL story is written in my blog. I have never hidden the fact that I told students I was gay at camp. I wrote it one of my first blogs. I am not ashamed of it, and I don’t think it was wrong. If it’s not wrong to tell students you’re straight, it’s not wrong to tell students you’re gay. The only problem is that being gay is understood as being different, in a worse way, than being straight, so it seems different to discuss it. Kids learn in their 7th grade health class that if someone tells you they’re gay, it’s the same as them telling you they’re straight. The kids did not care at all.]
Um… The dude “came out” during cabin time at camp. Totally and completely inappropriate. It does not matter where you fall on the subject. Wrong time, wrong place. Camp is about the kids, not you.
Grow. Up. Do you even know first hand the beautiful red carpet that is laid out for our LBGQT friends at club and camp?
Everybody loves the hating, juicy side of every story. Nobody wants to think for a second this leader acted inappropriately. I would have made the same call.
These were comments left on my blog on 11/06/2016. They were left using a false name. The content, as well as the amount and type of spelling and grammatical errors, are consistent with previous communications from Micah Humann. A quick search of the IP address left with the comment proved that they were made from Micah Humann’s residence using a device registered to Micah Humann.
Can you please just stop trying to make everything that happens about you and about being homosexual? Like dude seriously. If you have beef with YL, that is your own problem. A ministry is SO much different than a country. Seriously bro everything is not about you and what happened with you. The decision was made. Get over it, and move on. It seems like you are just trying to gain approval from people, and thats not right. Seriosuly man this is getting old. Stop please. Like i get it, you think everyone is out to get you but they are NOT!!! And now because im expressing my feelings Im gonna say this… Why do you have to go out and start your own club? Its dumb. Like because you think you are better than YL, or because you deserve it or something? Really? That was not cool. Not cool. Anyway, Im going to stop following all of your stuff because i really dont like it at all. No need to reply because i can already guess everything you are going to say. So dont waste your time please. What’s your problem?
Stop blaming the church. The bible says that it is wrong to be a homosexual, but it does not say you can’t be a homosexual. The ACT is the sin, not the desire. The bible is clear about that as well. Your sexuality is YOUR sexuality. Why does this have to be public? If you really think the bible says its ok to be gay, don’t you think you should suffer in silence?