GU May Elect First Gay President
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 16, 2013 16:02
Founder of Catholic Association of Students for Equality Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) agreed that the election of an LGBT student to the presidency of the student government would assure LGBTQ students that they are respected by their peers
“All gay issues benefit from visibility. When someone comes to Georgetown, they have to make the decision if they want to come out [and] acknowledge their sexual orientation,” Lloyd said. “Having someone as the president of the student government to be openly gay sets Georgetown as an exceptional case where the vast majority of the student body is not just OK with seeing that person on campus, but also elect him to the top of the student office.”
GU Pride president Meghan Ferguson (COL ’15) agreed.
“It’s good for us to know we have additional support behind us for things we want to accomplish,” Ferguson said.
GU Pride has endorsed Tisa in this GUSA race.
According to Alfano, his coming out, which drew significant media attention in Chicago, effectively increased recognition and opportunities for the LGBTQ community at DePaul.
“I think [coming out to the university] definitely did open up a lot of conversation and people were definitely talking more about LGBTQ issues on campus, whether it was in regard to sexual health or an LGBTQ office full-time coordinator that we finally got, or the career center that reached out to the LGBTQ group to show the career outlooks and life after college,” Alfano said.
Tisa said his struggles to reconcile his Catholic identity and his sexuality at the personal level inspired him to advocate for LGBTQ issues at the university level.
“Because of that experience in my personal life, I’ve had to extrapolate it to GUSA,” he said. “Trying to frame issues of social justice and issues of acceptance and tolerance in a way that is coherent to the Catholic identity is something that I’ve had to do every day, and that enables me to do it in GUSA instinctively.”
Lloyd agreed with Tisa that Jesuit values and sexuality should not conflict.
“When you look at gender-neutral housing, people claim that it’s against our Jesuit values to have men and women live in the same place. People always whip out Jesuit values when they want to knock something Pride wants to do down,” Lloyd said.
Despite different levels of struggle, advocacy for LGBTQ issues and acceptance of LGBTQ identities at the DePaul, Catholic and Georgetown, having openly gay representatives in the student government transcends these individual institutions.
“This is about more than just Georgetown. As the first openly gay student body president at Georgetown — at a major Jesuit university — we have the ability the change the way that the Catholic identity is interpreted. We can partner with other Catholic institutions to bring our identity into the 21st century once and for all,” Tisa said.