GALLATIN, Tenn. — A female student at a Christian college in Tennessee was recently suspended after school officials learned that she underwent breast reduction surgery for “sex change” purposes. The college says that “attempting to alter one’s bodily identity constitutes a rejection of God’s design for humanity” and that students are aware of this stance.
According to reports, Yanna Awtrey, 21, kept her struggle with her gender a secret from officials at Welch College in Gallatin — that is, until a roommate read her diary last year and informed those in authority.
“I was under strict rules that I could only attend the college if I stayed with a Christian therapist and if I didn’t tell anyone else I was transgender or bisexual,” she told The Tennessean.
She began taking hormone pills in January and started making plans to undergo a breast reduction operation.
On Aug. 2, the day of the surgery, Awtrey sent a letter to the school to advise she was going to the hospital for a procedure, but didn’t say exactly what. She also made arrangements to stay with friends of her parents following the operation, but didn’t provide any details about why or what her plans were.
“I did everything on my own in secret from the people around me,” Awtrey told BuzzFeed News.
Not even Awtrey’s parents knew about the surgery, although they were aware that she struggled with her gender. Awtrey says that it was her parents’ idea that she attend the Christian college, although she also identifies as a Christian.
Awtrey believes that the couple she planned to stay with during recovery found out about the operation and informed both her parents — who are currently on an overseas missions trip — and the college. She was soon advised that she was not permitted to stay with them after all.
Awtrey then also received an email from Welch College advising that she had been found out and “because of the choices you have made, we will not be able to allow you to come back to the dorm.” However, the college also offered to provide her with a hotel room for a week, as well as money for food.
A hearing was then held on Aug. 7, during which she contended that she hadn’t violated any school policies as she hadn’t committed any sexual immorality and the student handbook doesn’t specifically mention transgenderism.
Awtrey was suspended for two semesters as a result of her operation, and according to The Tennessean, she will either have to reapply to the college at that point or go before another committee.
The student says that she feels that she has been shown “a lack of dignity and respect,” adding, “I feel the need to shout out in anger because I feel like an injustice has been brought upon me.”
While Welch College has declined to comment specifically on the matter, it did release a statement explaining that the school adheres to biblical principles and that students are aware of its stance.
“The college holds that God created humanity in two distinct and complementary sexes: male and female. The college acknowledges that the Fall of humanity into sin has introduced brokenness into God’s good creation, including in the realm of human sexuality,” it outlined.
“Welch College believes that individuals experiencing such confusion — and the distress that usually accompanies it — should be treated with love and compassion,” the school also made clear. “The college also believes that attempting to alter one’s bodily identity constitutes a rejection of God’s design for humanity.”
“We will continue to pray for all people experiencing gender confusion while also honoring the values of this institution and its sponsoring denomination, which are shared by the Christian tradition over two millennia.”
As previously reported, while some view transgenderism as a medical condition, Christians believe the matter as a spiritual issue — one that stems from the same predicament all men everywhere face without Christ.
The Bible teaches that all are born with the Adamic sin nature, having various inherent feelings and inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves.
Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being a new creation in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven. It is known in Christianity as the doctrine of regeneration.
1 Corinthians 15:45 states, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.”
Romans 6 teaches that the loving gift of God through Jesus Christ is that men may now “walk in newness of life” by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, “[k]nowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
“Bitter experience teaches that the imprisoning net clings too tightly to be stripped from our limbs by our own efforts. Nay rather, the net and the captive are one, and he who tries to cast off the oppression which hinders him from following that which is good is trying to cast off himself,” also wrote the late preacher and Bible commentator Alexander Maclaren.
“But to men writhing in the grip of a sinful past, or paralyzed beyond writhing and indifferent, because [they are] hopeless, or because they have come to like their captivity, comes one whose name is ‘The Breaker,’ whose mission it is to proclaim liberty to the captives, and whose hand laid on the cords that bind a soul, causes them to drop harmless from the limbs and sets the bondsman free.”