A gay teen was fired from his job at a Christian summer camp because of his sexuality: 'Things need to change'

Courtesy of Jace TaylorJace Taylor, 18.
  • Jace Taylor planned to spend this summer working at Firs Camps as a day camp counselor.
  • But on Tuesday, things changed.
  • Taylor told INSIDER he was unexpectedly fired over his sexuality.
  • The 18-year-old said he decided to share his story to show how discrimination happens.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

It was supposed to be an ideal, idyllic summer. Jace Taylor, an 18-year-old from Washington State was going to work as a day camp counselor at The Firs Camps & Retreats, where he had gone to camp growing up.

But on Tuesday that plan completely changed, Taylor told INSIDER. The teen was unexpectedly called into a meeting with Darrell Smith, the Director of Fircreek Day Camp.

“He told me that I was terminated because of my sexual orientation and that they can’t have someone that identifies as gay in a leadership position,” Taylor said.

At the time, he felt devastated.

“Afterwards I got in my car and started bawling my eyes out,” he said. “I called my dad, I called my mum, I called a couple of friends that were close to me, and I also called my boyfriend and told them about it.”

But soon, he said, that heartbreak turned into feelings of confusion and betrayal as he said the camp staff has felt like a “second family” to him over the years.

Taylor believes he was fired after camp staff members saw a picture he uploaded of himself and his boyfriend on Facebook.

In a statement to Newsweek, the camp’s executive director confirmed that Taylor was fired for his sexuality.

“When it became evident in the application process that he did not personally align with our statements of faith (in particular, one regarding sexuality) we determined we could not use him in this role,” Executive Director Tom Beaumont said.

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The Firs is a Christian-affiliated, non-denominational non-profit, Newsweek reported. Under Washington state law, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee based on factors like race, disability, or sexual orientation, non-profit groups are exempt.

And while Taylor, who will attend Eastern Washington University in the fall, says he isn’t interested in seeking legal action, he told INSIDER that it’s important to him that his story gets around because there are so many others like it.

“I’m not the only person in the world that this is happening to. I’m just fortunate enough that someone is picked up my story and others are continuing to pick up my story and share it. I want this this to be a beacon for the LGBTQ community that people are recognising that this is not OK and that things need to change.”

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