Transgender Theology Professor Says University Asked Him to Leave

Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical Christian institution in Southern California, has asked a professor who was once its chair of theology and philosophy to leave after he came out as transgender, the Religion News Service reported. The professor has been known as Heather Clements for most of his 15 years at Azusa, but in the past year he has begun referring to himself as H. Adam Ackley.

Mr. Ackley, who is in his third year of a five-year contract, told the news service that he was being paid through the end of the academic year and that he and the university had agreed to part ways. A university spokeswoman declined to discuss Mr. Ackley’s employment, saying that the issue was pending.

Mr. Ackley said he had accepted his transgender identity earlier this year. He discussed his decision and the journey that led to it in a sermon given last month at a local congregation and in a slide show posted on YouTube.

“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.”

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