Millikin University graduation speaker under fire for transphobic comments
A speaker at Millikin University’s winter graduation has come under fire for allegedly making transphobic comments during his speech.
WAND-TV reported that Rev. Wally Carlson pretended to take a phone call from God during his invocation, where he said this:
“First of all, let’s take care of the gender issue. He understands and he’s sharing with you that there’s no theological justification for it but he’s choosing he and him today, doesn’t like them and they and just because this is probably irritating enough people that it’s coming out this way we’re gonna stay away from she and her.”
For transgender graduates, it wasn’t a good experience.
“After that moment it felt less like an achievement and more like an escape because when it was finally over, I was like OK, good, I get to leave,” graduate Nat Long told the TV station. “I wasn’t like proud of myself, I wasn’t like proud that I graduated from Millikin. I was just so excited to get out of there that, like, when I finally left the auditorium it was like a wave of relief.”
The university sent out this statement apologizing for the incident:
“Millikin University immediately issued an apology to all who attended Commencement on Sunday for the comments made by Reverend Wally Carlson during the invocation. Reverend Carlson’s comments regarding gender neither reflect nor represent the values of our university. We were not aware of his remarks prior to Commencement and were equally as surprised and disappointed by them. Going forward, Millikin will be certain to vet all prepared remarks for important events like Commencement. We are very sorry for the hurt this has caused and affirm our support for all members of the Millikin community.”