A Kentucky mother, Ayanna Mckinney, has allegedly been banned from refereeing youth basketball games because she’s a lesbian. Mckinney and her wife have six children and signed three up them up for basketball and cheerleading through Upward Sports, a nationwide nonprofit affiliated with Florence Baptist Temple.
McKinney volunteered to referee the basketball games, which she did for six weeks, until church officials came to her home and banned her from refereeing games because she is a lesbian, according to WCPO-TV.
“I was just in disbelief,” McKinney told WCPO-TV. “I don’t know how they were that comfortable to come to our house and just tell us that.”
According to Ayanna, the church officials told her that her sexuality goes against the laws of the church. Since a referee is considered a leadership position, she would no longer be able to participate. She said the conversation took place in front of their children, including their 10-year-old son Mason, who played on the team.
“We obviously see judgment or discrimination often within our world, but it’s an unimaginable experience when you are facing it personally,” Ayanna’s wife Jesika told WCPO-TV. She added that the church officials knew that she and McKinney were married prior to McKinney volunteering to referee.
“My biggest thing that I’m going for right now is to make sure that these flyers [for Upward Sports] don’t go home in the school system anymore in children’s bags. I don’t believe they should be advertising a program like this that is not going to get catered to our community and the diverse backgrounds that we all have,” Jesika said.
Upward Sports refused WCPO’s request for comment.