If you’re a Covenant College student, you may have heard by now that Covenant applied for and received a Title IX exemption granting the school permission to legally discriminate against LGBT students. As a Covenant grad I’ve got a few things I’d like you to know.

To the straight students, whatever you may believe about the morality of same-sex relationships or attraction, or about gender identity, please remember this. Some of your friends and classmates may be hurting and feeling unwelcome at the school that they call home because of this news. You may not know that the friend you eat breakfast with or sit next to in class is one of those students. Be sensitive and compassionate in what you say because you don’t know who you could be hurting because of your words. Whatever your theological beliefs on this, remember that Jesus modeled love and compassion for the marginalized.

To the LGBT students, whether you’re out or not, whether you believe that this is a temptation you have to struggle against or you’ve decided that it’s something you can embrace, know this. God loves you, and no matter how constraining the Covenant bubble may feel, there is a whole big world off the mountain. I’m not saying that what you’re feeling and experiencing now isn’t hard, because the stuff you go through in college is very real and when you’re in a closed bubble everything is magnified. It can definitely suck big time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, no matter how much Covenant and the PCA can feel like all there is, there are so many options out there for you. If you need to get away from the bubble for a while to maintain your mental health, don’t feel bad about it, self-care is important. My senior year I went to the dollar theater and watched xXx about a half dozen times and my hallmates thought it was nuts, but escapist action movies provided a break from the stress of school and the bubble on the mountain. Do what you need to do to stay safe and healthy.

Most importantly, I want you to know this. You are not alone. You have people in the Covenant family who support you. We’re spread out around the country, we’re in all walks of life, and we stand with you. It’s easy to get the impression that all alumni toe the party line because the ones who come back are generally the ones who do, but there are a lot of us out here who are disappointed and saddened by what Covenant has done. We’re here to support you in whatever way we can. If you would like to talk privately, send me a message and I’ll keep anything you say confidential. I’m also available on Twitter or can give you my email or Hangouts username if that’s better.