Rinedahl's Fight for LGBTQ Rights

Help me fight anti-gay discrimination at Seattle Pacific University.

Hello Friends —

I am Jéaux Rinedahl, an RN, a gay man, and a Christian, fighting to end employment discrimination at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) for all LGBTQ+ people. After teaching at SPU part-time, I was told I am not eligible for full-time work because I am “not heterosexual.” Please help fund my lawsuit for equal rights . Here is my story:

Nursing and My Part Time (Adjunct) Teaching
I’ve worked in nursing for 40 years, and have taught college-level nursing part- time beginning in 2014. When I was hired for my position at SPU, the Assistant Dean of Nursing, with whom I have served on nursing committees in the past, asked me to share photos of my husband. These photos were met with delight and acceptance. It was a joy teaching at SPU, having received accolades from students and fellow faculty. In May of 2020, when a rare, full-time position to teach nursing opened up at SPU, I applied immediately.

SPU’s Surprising Policy
On June 19, 2020 ("Juneteenth") I was called by the Assistant Dean and told that I did not qualify for the position.  Confused by this because I was already teaching for the university, and after receiving so many positive comments from my students, I asked why. The answer was, “Because you are not heterosexual.” During that phone call I was told  that to be hired full-time by SPU, faculty are required to sign a statement declaring that they are heterosexual. I was shocked and surprised by this news, and instantly started feeling sick to my stomach, numb and further confused. I was asked at the end of that phone call if I would please still work part-time teaching at SPU in the nursing program.

My Christianity
I am a devout Christian and have been all of my life. I previously served on the board of my Episcopal church that I had been a member for over 10 years, until I moved away from the area.  My husband and I were honored to be the first same-sex couple ever married there.

The Lawsuit and How You Can Help
My feelings of shock and hurt soon turned to dismay, which led to action. I talked with my husband, and we agreed as a family to fight this on behalf of all people in our LGBTQ+ community. While I am ready for this fight, it will not come without significant legal costs and expenses. Here are some of the costs that I may incur throughout this lawsuit:
  •  Filing and legal service fees
  •  eDiscovery vendors
  •  Deposition costs (transcripts, court reporters, and videographers)
  •  Expert witness fees and costs
  •  Production and copying costs for trial exhibits
  •  Transportation costs

Since we are just starting this fight, there is no way we can predict the total cost and this could take years to move through the court system. We are setting our goal at $5,000 and will reevaluate if an increase is needed in time. Any remaining funds when all this is over will be donated to an LBGTQ+ charity.

THANK YOU for your help!

 Here are links to our story in the news:

APRIL 2020
KIRO7 News Interview with me & Rally at SPU 
KING5 News  Interview with me & Rally at SPU 
Seattle Times  story on SPU faculty voting No Confidence in the SPU board 
Seattle Times opinion piece that SPU must change their policy 

KING5 News    breaking story 
KING5 News    SPU students rally in support 
The Seattle Times 
Washington DC Metro Weekly 
UK PinkNews 
Australia Star Observer 

Here are links to student-made videos supporting our cause:

LAMENTATION  - Powerful student created mini-documentary (5 min) of the April 16, 2021 vigil at SPU
An open letter to administration from SPU nursing students - Outstanding and touching statement of support


Jeaux Rinedahl
Seattle, WA

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