She posted a picture of herself from the game, captioned “flag runner,” to her Instagram account. Some students responded with disapproving comments, and one copied Veronica’s caption but removed the letter L from the word “flag.”
She deleted it and moved on. The next year, the student senate passed the “No Crying on Sundays” bill she wrote, which calls for the Baylor Board of Regents to approve an official student-group charter for Gamma Alpha Upsilon, an unofficial LGBTQ student group. After the bill passed, someone started leaving sticky notes with anti-LGBTQ slurs written on them on the door to her dorm room, Penales said. Her residence hall director was apologetic and reported the incidents, but nothing ever happened.
Penales identifies as queer, and said she hopes the lawsuit will force Baylor University to formally recognize LGBTQ student groups and take stronger action against homophobia on campus.
“Baylor has been trying to silence this issue for as long as it’s been an issue, and I don’t think they’re going to be able to do that anymore, especially with the lawsuit out,” Penales said.
Two Baylor University students have joined a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education.
The lawsuit argues the Education Department should, in cases of LGBTQ discrimination, hold religious higher education institutions that receive taxpayer money to the same standards as other institutions.
“The Department’s inaction leaves students unprotected from the harms of conversion therapy, expulsion, denial of housing and healthcare, sexual and physical abuse and harassment, as well as the less visible, but no less damaging, consequences of institutionalized shame, fear, anxiety and loneliness,” the lawsuit states.