Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No Home Under the Dome

Considering the latest Viewpoint controversy and a number of events around campus this week, I suppose there's no better time to bring the struggles of LGBT students and allies to Lefty's.

Here's some background:

-Notre Dame is the only top-20 University to neither include "Sexual Orientation" in its non-discrimination clause nor provide a Gay-Straight Alliance for its students. We are, however, ranked #5 for "Alternative Lifestyles not an Alternative."

-Although the creation of the "Spirit of Inclusion" in 1997 was an important step in promoting non-discrimination, this document does not provide any legal protection to the LGBT community.

-The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the US
Conference of Catholic Bishops call us to recognize human rights, avoid unjust discrimination, and accept homosexual persons with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

-Notre Dame loses students, faculty, and staff members because they don't feel comfortable as homosexuals at this university.

Today at noon about 250 students, faculty, and members of the South Bend community gathered at the front gates of the University to hold a silent protest against university policy regarding the treatment of homosexual members of the Notre Dame community. The purpose was to show the administration that there is support on campus for the inclusion of "Sexual Orientation" into Notre Dame's non-discrimination clau
se, and for the recognition of AllianceND as an official club.

In my four years at ND, I don't know that I've ever experienced solidarity in the way that I did today. As organizers of this demonstration, we weren't quite sure what to expect in terms of number of participants, or reaction from the University. You can imagine that we were pleasantly surprised to receive last-minute permission to move the demonstration on campus, and to have a huge amount of support from students and faculty. When we were denied entrance to the main building to deliver a letter to Fr. Jenkins, 40 faculty members stepped forward to demand that they be let in. It was truly a powerful gesture.

Though the struggle for equality at Notre Dame has been a long one, today really felt like progress. Discussion about this issue is often sparked by a controversial comic or Viewpoint letter, and then dies out a few weeks later. The LGBT members of our community, however, don't have the convenience of sweeping these problems under the rug. Continued support from the student body, faculty, and alumni is vital for keeping this movement alive and pushing for change from the administration.

If you're interested in learning more about the movement and becoming an ally e-mail

Go Irish, Beat Homophobia!

1 comment:

ShamRockNRoll said...

Great post. I'm glad to see that so many people attended this demonstration. I hope that everyone keeps the pressure on. That stupid comic might have done some good if it created the momentum to get this administration's arcane policies updated.