Lesbian Mothers Sue, Claim Son 'Lured' into Coach's Anti-LGBTQ 'Teens for Christ'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday March 26, 2020

A lawsuit brought by a married lesbian couple in Tennessee alleges that the couple's son was "lured" into mandatory meetings of an anti-LGBTQ "Teens for Christ" group, where the basketball coach required students involved in a basketball program to listen to sermons that attacked sexual minorities - or else be kicked out of the school-sponsored sports program.

The couple lives in Know Country, Tennessee, where a local news channel - NBC affiliate Channel 10 - reported on the suit.

The suit names PE instructor and coach Chuck Comer, who teaches at West Valley Middle School, where their son is enrolled. The suit also names the county.

According to the suit, the mothers are an "interracial, married, lesbian parents" of the student, identified only as A.K. The suit alleges that Coach Comer "lured" teens into a"school-sponsored basketball program" without giving them prior knowledge that in order to be part of the program they would be required to attend another school program - "Teens for Christ."

The suit further alleges that "the students were required to be present early in the morning before school at a lecture hall to listen to Comer read from and interpret the Bible for approximately 30 minutes," and adds that part of Comer's "interpretation" involved zeroing in on LGBTQ people, suggesting that they are guilty of "sin."

Attendance being mandatory, any student participating in the basketball program who refused to attend the "Teens for Christ" meetings would be excluded from the basketball program as well, the suit said.

The suit says that information provided by a school official indicates that "West Valley Middle School Principal David Claxton and Knox County have been aware of and have acquiesced to Comer leading the school-sponsored basketball program at West Valley Middle School for not less than eight (8) years while using the same as a pretext to recruit students to join 'Teens for Christ' program."

Channel 10 reports that the boy's parents "seek compensatory and punitive damages."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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