No one should face discrimination because of who they are – but that’s what happened to Rev. Dr. Julie Nemecek when she came out as transgender while working at Spring Arbor University. The University cut her pay by 20% and forbid her from discussing her transition with anyone connected to the University, which at the time included a brother, sister-in-law, and one of her kids. Julie and the University entered mediation, where she shared a powerful opening statement about her life, discrimination, and basic dignity.
“I fully support the SAU’s statement of faith, and I have no doubts that God has gone before us and is a sustaining power in the peace that Joanne and I have. The University has demonstrated an incredible ignorance and unwarranted transphobia. This is me, I am Julie. I do not have what you’ve called a ‘transgender personality.’ I am a transgender person and always have been, including all the time I worked with Spring Arbor University. After I began to understand my diagnosis, I lost the physical and emotional energy to keep living a lie and shortly after that voluntarily shared this information with Spring Arbor University. No matter how hard Spring Arbor University tries, there is simply no Christian justification for blatantly interfering with my prescribed treatment for my transgender identity.”
Ultimately, Julie needed to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to combat the mistreatment and stand up for herself.