WACO, TX — President of Gamma Alpha Upsilon, or GAY, Emma Fraley has fought for her rights as an LGBTQ member and Baylor Student for the past four years, but this battle started long before she became a Baylor Bear.
For 10 years, the unofficial group GAY has tried to apply for an official charter with the university, but they have been denied every semester.
"Baylor University, as much as we love it, they have been historically slow to accomplish change," Fraley said.
Wanting a place to feel a little more like home, GAY has applied once every semester, despite the same results.
"Being a private institution, so Baylor brings in people from all over the country and literally all over the world. So for so many of us who have traveled thousands of miles to be here to feel safe and secure and comfortable is of the up most importance," Fraley said.
Now they have support from the Baylor NAACP and Student Senate. Backing their cause for an official charter, president of Baylor NAACP, Lexi Bogney, says it's time for a change.
"As we're progressing as a nation and as a community, we need to be supportive, and if a group wants to advocate for themselves and other people like themselves, they should be able to do so," Bogney said.
Baylor University came out with a statement saying:
“We appreciate the work of the Student Senate and the role the organization plays in representing the voices of Baylor students. The resolution passed by the Senate is non-binding, as the decision-making authority related to this matter lies with the University administration, and ultimately, the Board of Regents. Both previously have made a strong public commitment to provide a loving and caring community for Baylor’s LGBTQ+ students. This commitment remains unchanged today, as it is embodied in Baylor’s mission that calls us to educate students within a caring community."
However, in the Baylor University Student Policies and Procedures handbook, it states, "It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching."
Despite what is written, Bogney is using her voice for change.
"I think it's very important because kind of in our own efforts as Baylor NAACP to fight against racial injustice, we also need to support students that are being discriminated against," Bogney said.
Vice President of GAY, Jake Picker says Baylor University is the only university in the Power 5 Athletic Conference that does not officially recognize LGBTQ+ students. In that conference, Christian universities TCU and Notre Dame are apart of that conference that has official reorganizations for their LGBTQ+ students.
"If they do not recognize their LGBTQ+ students, they're going to fall behind a lot of their institutions," Picker said.
A senior, he's fought alongside Fraley for four years, something even after they graduate they won't give up on.
"LGBTQ+ people in general have been around for forever, we're not going away any time soon," Picker said. "As time continues, Baylor University will continue to have LGBTQ+ students."
Sure to never give up, they hope that after a 10-year battle, Baylor University sees the importance of this charter for a more inclusive campus.
"This is not like a gay versus Christian issue here. This is a place for Baylor to exemplify their Christian commitment and their mission toward love and justice through this manner," Fraley said.
GAY submitted their charter request on Friday and will hear back from the University by the end of the semester.