Transgender Theology Professor to Leave Christian University Azusa Pacific

By Masatani, Melissa | Pasadena Star-News, October 5, 2013 | Go to article overview

Transgender Theology Professor to Leave Christian University Azusa Pacific


Masatani, Melissa, Pasadena Star-News


AZUSA » Two weeks after a longtime theology professor's transgender status became public, H. Adam Ackley and Azusa Pacific University have announced that Friday was Ackley's last day at the university. Ackley taught at the evangelical Christian university for 15 years as Heather Clements, even serving as head of the department of theology and philosophy, and recently began referring to himself as Adam or Heath Adam Ackley on social media sites. It was not until Ackley spoke to his supervisors regarding his decision to change his name that his employment became an issue, according to posts from Ackley's Facebook page.

"Dr. Ackley and university leadership have engaged in thoughtful conversations regarding Dr. Ackley's continued employment at APU and recognized that they have different views on the theology of human sexuality," according to a joint statement by Ackley and the university. "While we appreciate Dr. Ackley's past service and pray God's best for the journey ahead, we have reached a mutual agreement that recognizes it would be best for Dr. Ackley to pursue professional endeavors elsewhere."

The university declined to release details of the agreement, citing personnel concerns, though Ackley has been posting publicly on his Facebook page regarding his stance since before the news spread.

"I have intentionally made this my only social media site and made it public since BEFORE the recent controversies, simply as a means to educate anyone willing to explore what it means to be BOTH Christian AND transgender with me in a peaceable spirit," he wrote on Sept. 22. "However, I do NOT desire to promote MYSELF, only the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Ackley also refuted reports that he had decided to "go public" with his gender identity, saying that he had intended the conversation to be private.

"I have been 'outed' to this community and the wider public after what I had intended to be a private conversation with my direct supervisor as a professional courtesy to notify her that I would one day be changing my name with my employer's payroll and human resources offices," he wrote on Sept. 30. "This led to a decision that the university would be best served by my leaving, though I have not yet had any medical procedures of any kind (only STOPPED taking female hormones and psych meds about a year ago with the restoration of my physical health from the brink of death as the result). …

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Transgender Theology Professor to Leave Christian University Azusa Pacific
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