Biology professor files complaint after college fired him for teaching chromosomes determine sex – LifeSite

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (LifeSiteNews) — A Texas professor filed a complaint against his employer for violating his freedom of religion and speech by firing him for teaching that gender is defined by chromosomes.

On July 21, Johnson Varkey, a former biology professor at St. Philip’s College, filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against the college for dismissing him from his position after students complained that he taught in November 2022 that sex is determined by chromosomes.

“If not for my beliefs about gender, sexuality, and human life, I would not have been fired,” the complaint argues. “Thus, religion was clearly a but-for cause — and a motivating factor — of my termination.”

Varkey, represented by First Liberty Legal Group, revealed that the college refused to explain why he lost his position, but the decision came directly after four students walked out of his class during a lecture on the human reproductive system.

As a professor at the college for 20 years, Varkey routinely taught that “human sex is determined by chromosomes X and Y, and that reproduction must occur between a male and a female to continue the human species.”

He further explained, “When a sperm (which has 23 chromosomes) joins with an egg (which also has 23 chromosomes), a zygote (which has 46 chromosomes) is formed, and it begins to divide, and after 38 weeks, a baby is born. Because no information is added or deleted in those 38 weeks, life starts when the zygote begins to divide, not when the baby is born.”

On November 28, four students walked out of his class after Varkey stated sex was determined by chromosomes X and Y. While the college refused to provide details, Varkey assumes that it was these students’ complaints that resulted in his termination.

A January 10 email from Randall Dawson, the vice president for academic success at St. Philip, read, “I am sending you notification that Alamo Colleges District Human Resources department is in receipt of an ethics violation complaint from JBSA-Lackland, related to your facilitation of the BIOL 2402 class, during the Flex II Fall 2022 term.”

Varkey responded by asking exactly what the violation was, but Dawson didn’t respond. Later, on January 27, Varkey received a notice informing him of his termination of employment.

According to the notice of termination, several complaints were made about his alleged “religious preaching, discriminatory comments about homosexuals and transgender individuals, anti-abortion rhetoric, and misogynistic banter.”

However, while he attests to being a devout Evangelical Christian, Varkey declared that he “never mentioned them in class. I did not preach any of my beliefs in class.”

Furthermore, Varkey had been teaching students about the biology behind sex for his entire career at St. Philip’s and “no other students have ever complained” about the basic, scientific teaching.

Instead, Varkey focused on basic biology, using research textbooks and diagrams to back up his teaching. The complaint against him included his use of diagrams of male and female biology in addition to a diagram of the early stages of human life.

The college’s seeming opposition to teaching that sex is based on chromosomes is in contradiction to basic biology. The National Library of Medicine states, “Two of the chromosomes (the X and the Y chromosome) determine your sex as male or female when you are born. They are called sex chromosomes: Females have 2 X chromosomes. Males have 1 X and 1 Y chromosome.”

LifeSite reached out to Dawson inquiring why Varkey was fired for teaching something clearly defined by medical experts. However, the college vice president didn’t respond by time of publication.