"Exterior of the Jerry Falwell Library at Liberty University" by PCHS-NJROTC / CC BY-SA 4.0

Despite a culture ‘entrenched in fear,’ LGBTQ students find ways to thrive at Liberty University

Jun 30, 2020

By Jack Jenkins

When LeeQuan McLaurin enrolled at Liberty University as an undergraduate in 2012, he was still trying to understand his sexuality.

So McLaurin, a Christian who now identifies as queer, did what many students at the conservative Christian school do: He joined a Bible study.

Specifically, he joined “Armor Bearers,” which McLaurin said was a run by a Liberty staffer and geared toward men who were described as “struggling” with their sexuality. He said the intent was to appeal to the divine for a spiritual and sexual transformation: Leaders allegedly suggested that the young male participants should remain celibate and then “hope for that heteronormative existence” that would be provided by God.

At least one other former Liberty student has publicly described the group, which is believed to still exist, as a form of conversion therapy, a practice that was declared illegal for minors in the state of Virginia — where Liberty resides — earlier this year.

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