“Pockets of acceptance and pockets of tolerance”

As frustrating as MU can be for LGBTple and allies, it serves us to remember we’re better off than many. Of the 220 Catholic universities in the country, only about 100 have an officially recognized GSA or equivalent group.

Catholic University in DC is not one of those lucky 100, but necessity has stimulated cunning. They’ve figured out many subversive yet not disrespectful ways to petition their school and broadcast support for those who need it:  

Every Wednesday morning, 150 officials at Catholic University receive an e-mail about a gay student’s struggles on campus.There’s a graduate student who doesn’t mention her girlfriend to classmates or professors for fear of being lectured. An undergraduate who held her girlfriend’s hand and was called an ugly name. Another student learned his roommate’s mother tried to have her son reassigned when she learned he was gay.

Although only approved student organizations can reserve space for meetings or events, all students have the right to gather informally on campus. Although only student organizations can advertise their meetings and events on campus bulletin boards, any student can tape a poster to his or her own door in the dorms or wear the group’s signature blue T-shirts.

“We might not be an official group, but we’re winning,” said Robby Diesu, a senior political theory major from New York who is a founder of the group. “We have our own community. . . . It’s empowering.”

But the group has a self-imposed list of topics that are off-limits: pre-marital sex, gay sex, birth control, gay marriage and behavior not permitted by the Catholic church. Despite the university’s refusal to sanction the group, the students say they want to respect the campus’s conservative nature and rules. Instead, they focus on helping gay students who are trying to navigate campus and educating the rest of the student body about gay issues.


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