Homosexuality is welcomed, if not pervasive, in women’s basketball culture.
So, when New Mexico State University’s head coach saw a video in which Camille LeNoir said she was no longer gay, he rescinded the offer for LeNoir to become an assistant coach at the school.
Now, she’s suing the school for discrimination.
LeNoir was a former player at the University of Southern California and with the Washington Mystics in the WNBA. She had been working with young players since her playing career ended, and she finally got the breakthrough offer she wanted from New Mexico State.
Mark Trakh, NMSU’s coach at that time, offered LeNoir the job, and she booked travel to New Mexico. But two days before she left, Trakh called her and told her the offer was no longer on the table.
‘Not worth losing your soul’
Trakh rescinded LeNoir’s offer after seeing a video interview recorded in 2011 that’s still on YouTube.
In the video, LeNoir talks about how her Christian faith led her to renounce her lesbian lifestyle.
“I would say, it’s not worth it. If you are in a same-sex relationship, it is not worth losing your soul," she said in the video. "Whoever you’re in that relationship with, like the Lord told me, it will be the death of you. I just believe that you can overcome it. You can overcome and defeat sin.”
“If you believe something that you were born gay or homosexual or whatever — if you feel you were born that way — I would say that you weren’t. God wouldn’t create you homosexual, then say in the Bible that it’s wrong, and then send you to hell. He doesn’t operate like that.”
Here's the video:
‘Take down the video’
Trakh left LeNoir with a warning during the call when he rescinded his offer. (Trakh left NMSU in April to return to the University of Southern California.)
“Take down the video or you’ll never be able to work in this industry,” LeNoir said Trakh told her.
Trakh and the university said LeNoir’s public stance on homosexuality would make it difficult for her to recruit, and cited that as the reason for not hiring her.
From the Washington Post:
In court filings, New Mexico State says that LeNoir’s feelings about homosexuality shared in the video “would have had an adverse impact” on her “ability to effectively coach and recruit players who identify as LGBT.”
LeNoir is suing New Mexico State in U.S. District Court for discriminating against her sexuality and religious beliefs. NMSU has denied the charges, and a judge in California will preside over the case.