Texas biology professor Dr. Johnson Varkey was fired after St. Philip’s College alleged that it received complaints of “religious preaching, discriminatory comments about homosexuals and transgender individuals, anti-abortion rhetoric and misogynistic banter.”
The incident occurred after four students walked out of his classroom in protest. His offense? Teaching that sex in humans is determined by X and Y chromosomes—the same concept that he had been teaching for 20 years.
Varkey is a devout Christian, but he denies bringing religion into his classroom, saying, “I just teach basic biology. That’s all I teach. X and X, those two chromosomes, make a person female and X and Y, male. That’s all I mentioned in the classroom. That’s just a mere biological fact.”
But students claimed otherwise, complaining the professor “pushed beyond the bounds of academic freedom with [his] personal opinions that were offensive to many individuals in the classroom.”
Varkey has taught his class on human anatomy to more than 1,500 students since 2004. His attorneys wrote that he received positive performance reviews and was never disciplined before the incident.
Varkey filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), arguing his firing was an unconstitutional act of religious discrimination and demanding that he be reinstated.