Dozens march for transgender George Fox student fighting for equal housing
NEWBERG, Ore. - The 14 boxes are empty, but each one represents 1,000 signatures collected in support of Jayce.
Eight days ago Jayce and his attorney filed a formal complaint with the Department of Education, alleging the Christian university is violating the Title IX equal treatment of sexes at educational institutions that receive federal money by not allowing him to live in all-male apartment style student housing.
About 50 of his supporters, including many who've never even met him, marched to campus Sunday so they could symbolically deliver 14,000 petition signatures to George Fox University.
"I'm proud to see this. I never would have imagined seeing so many supportive people in this community. I am speechless," said Jade Miller, who came to support Jayce.
The transgender student has kept quiet until the march on Sunday.
"It's been great the amount of people that have signed my petition. The amount of people that have messaged me over Facebook and emailed me showing support and standing behind me. It lifts me up when I have a bad day," Jayce said.
The sophomore first applied to George Fox as a female, but says he's completed his social and physical transition to male.
He says he's changed his legal gender status with the state and has the right to live with his male friends on campus.
Newberg resident Harmony Van Eaton agrees and even decided to bring her to young kids along for the march.
"When we told them why we brought them out they they both got little tears and were choked up and said that's sad they are making somebody feel bad. They are making somebody feel left out. So they wanted to come out in support too," Van Eaton said.
Jayce says it's that type of support that helps keep him going.
"I do believe I have the right to live on campus with males so I am going to fight for that," Jayce said.
The university says they have not denied Jayce on-campus housing. They have offered him a private apartment, something Jayce has turned down.
The university issued KATU a statement last week reading in part, "The university has made many efforts to provide support and accommodation for the student and remains committed to his academic, physical and spiritual welfare."