Catholic bishops in the U.S. have encouraged all Catholics to celebrate Respect Life Month in October, but Georgetown University and other Catholic colleges are instead celebrating lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) lifestyles and identities all month long, showing what one Georgetown pro-life leader called “a complete disregard not only for Catholic doctrine on this campus but also for the human rights issue of abortion.”
“I am very disappointed with Georgetown,” said Georgetown Right to Life president Michael Khan in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “We celebrate LGBT History Month and so-called ‘OUTober’ [in October] with a variety of events, panels and speakers … but for [recognizing] Respect Life Month [we have] absolutely nothing. No events. No emails. Nothing.”
The Newman Society reached out to Georgetown for comment, but no response was received by time of publication.
This year marks the University’s 11th annual “OUTober” celebration recognizing national LGBT History Month in October, with events lasting from October 7 to November 20. The celebration began by recognizing National Coming Out Day with a “Coming Out in Red Square” event where students are asked to walk through a mock door frame and “‘come out’ as proud LGBTQ Hoyas and Allies,” according to the University’s OUTober webpage.
The OUTober page states that all events are organized by the LGBTQ Resource Center at Georgetown and the student group GU Pride in partnership with the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Campus Ministry and 28 other University departments and programs.
Khan told the Newman Society that Georgetown’s promotion of LGBTQ lifestyles while ignoring the bishops’ Respect Life Month celebration “speaks to a complete disregard not only for Catholic doctrine on this campus but also for the human rights issue of abortion, even if that may apparently be ‘controversial’ on this campus.”
“I definitely believe [OUTober] conflicts with our school’s mission and beliefs, while Respect Life Month would directly align with the values that this so-called Catholic school holds,” he said. “However, all we are asking for at the very least is balance.”Concerns over Georgetown’s Catholic identity were touched on in a recent editorial in the campus newspaper, The Hoya, which pointed to “Georgetown’s Catholic identity” being a problem for the “LGBTQ community” on campus.
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After describing how hundreds of students took part in celebrating Coming Out Day on campus and praising how “Georgetown has made incredible strides” to make campus an “accepting space for all students,” the editorial board lamented that “there are still a number of reasons that LGBTQ students might not take part in the very visible celebration of Coming Out Day.”
The Hoya called for the University administration to “take further steps to ensure that no one will feel that they cannot afford to publicly disclose their identity on campus.”
The article specifically targeted the student group Love Saxa, claiming the group “alienates the LGBTQ population on campus,” due to its support for traditional marriage and family and the recognition of “the harmful effects of a distorted view of human sexuality and the human person.”
“As we continue to celebrate OUTober and the importance of accepting all identities, the Georgetown community would do well to recognize how far we still have to go,” The Hoya stated.
One of those “identities” receiving more focus at Georgetown this year is the transgender identity.
Georgetown LGBTQ Resource Center Director Shiva Subbaraman told The Hoya that “[OUTober] now goes through November to include transgender history and Transgender Day of Remembrance.”
“I think transgender is the piece we have focused a lot more on this year,” Subbaraman said, telling the paper that Coming Out Day has “expanded and evolved to encompass more fluid gender identities since the LGBTQ Resource Center was established in 2008.” Several other Catholic colleges also promoted events celebrating LGBT History Month.
Marquette University in Milwaukee hosted an “LGBTQ+ & Ally Reception” on October 6.
Santa Clara University in California is offering a month of “OUTober” events, which included a celebration of National Coming Out Day on October 9.
Seattle University’s LGBTQ group, known as the Triangle Club, and Gender and Sexuality Programming — an extension of the campus ministry — cosponsored a “Coming Out to God” event in the campus chapel on October 13.
The University of Dayton in Ohio also hosted a National Coming Out Day celebration on October 13.
Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., which touts itself as “one of the most LGBT friendly Catholic campuses in the country,” offered students a week of events sponsored by the College’s “PRIDE” club.
DePaul University in Chicago held a large celebration in honor of ten years of “LGBTQA Student Services and LGBTQA Studies Minor” at the University. The event apparently featured 25 modified posters of St. Vincent DePaul waving a LGBTQ pride flag, which were subsequently raffled off to students.
Just down the road from DePaul, Loyola University Chicago’s LGBTQ group, Advocate, is hosting its annual drag show on October 22.
Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., is celebrating Pride Week in honor of LGBT History Month. As part of the celebration, the School of Social Work and Office of Student Affairs has invited Barry students to spend their Saturday volunteering for “an LGBTQ affirmative organization.”
LifeNews Note: Justin Petrisek writes for Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society.