A California Christian college has asked a professor who has taught there for the last 15 years to leave.
Heather Clements recently began referring to himself as H. Adam Ackley, prompting Azusa Pacific University to request that he leave the school.
Ackley is in his third year of a five-year contract, but he has agreed to step down. APU will continue to pay him through the academic year and other professors will be taking over his classes.
According to Ackley, his insurance was denied when he sought hormone treatment and “top surgery” for his chest area. “They’re giving me privacy to transition but denying medical treatment to do that,” said Ackley, 47.
APU is an evangelical university of about 10,000 students and 1,200 faculty members, Religious News reported. Ackley says there is nothing in the university’s policies that specifically addresses the issue of transgender people.
“I did not get a sense directly from the individuals with whom I was speaking that they had a theological problem with transgender identity,” Ackley said. “I did get the message that it has to do with their concern that other people, such as donors, parents and churches connected to the university will have problems not understanding transgender identity.”
Ackley has two children and is in the process of a divorce from his second husband.
He posted a YouTube video describing his childhood. During he slideshow, Ackley noted that he was raised in an “unconditionally loving family of Christian grandparents and hippie parents who allowed me to be myself – assigned female gender at birth but kept thinking I was a little boy, trying to be like my grandpa…As for many transgender people, my experience of puberty was especially confusing (non-conforming) and I became anxious, depressed and hopeless. Gender bending in the late 1970s and early 1980s was a popular cultural trend that I embraced to get through my teens.”