Students Launch National Network for LGBTQ Acceptance
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012
Updated: Saturday, October 13, 2012 13:10
The Catholic Association of Students for Equality, a nationwide organization founded by Georgetown students with the mission of promoting acceptance of all sexual orientations on Catholic college campuses, was launched Thursday.
CASE members announced the formation of their group in an open letter Thursday.
“We were … raised with Catholic values. We were taught to believe in family, love and commitment. To work to ensure respect, inclusion and human dignity,” the letter read. “Therefore, it is only natural that as we grew into adults we would apply these values to how we viewed our LGBTQ identities. … We have an experience, a viewpoint given to us by our creator as LGBTQ Catholics, which needs to be shared.”
Founder Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) said that CASE has three main goals: to create a network for pride groups on Catholic campuses, reach out to Catholic schools that do not have recognized pride groups and raise awareness of pride groups’ roles on Catholic campuses.
“Being at the intersection of LGBTQ and Catholic values is a precarious place to be and difficult to navigate,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd developed the idea for CASE over the summer when he realized that he could not find LGBTQ voices in Catholic discourse on a national level.
“As a student, I know that at Georgetown we have a strong LGBTQ voice,” he said. “I thought, ‘How do I get all the other Catholic campuses to share their stories with the nation?’”
He began the project by emailing pride organizations at other Catholic and Jesuit colleges and universities and received an enthusiastic response.
CASE co-founder and The Hoya staff writer Esteban Garcia (SFS ’15) attended the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference at College of the Holy Cross during the summer to work with other Jesuit student leaders during the founding process. He gauged student and institution interest, ultimately forming a partnership with seven of the CASE member schools.
“From the beginning, we wanted to give gay Catholic students a voice,” García said. “It was to let the Catholic Church that we are here, and we are queer. We do exist, we are on these campuses. We are Catholic, and we support equality for all Americans.”
Current members of CASE include pride groups at Santa Clara University, DePaul University, Loyola University Maryland, Loyola Marymount University, Fordham University, Boston College and the College of the Holy Cross, according to Lloyd.
Over the next semester, Lloyd hopes to expand CASE’s membership to more regions of the country and begin networking between member schools.
According to Lloyd, CASE members are not all Catholic.
“By raising awareness, we want to fight the idea that recognizing groups on a Catholic campus is in conflict with Catholic values,” he said. “The argument just isn’t true. Not only are they not incompatible, but for LGBTQ people [at a Catholic school], it is important to be in line with Catholic values.”
CASE is entirely student run and has no affiliation with Georgetown’s LGBTQ Center. However, GU Pride will contribute resources to assist smaller, non-recognized pride organizations at other schools.
“I am a lesbian and Catholic, and this is near and dear to my heart,” GU Pride President Meghan Ferguson (COL ’15) said. “I really like the idea of connecting student groups across the country. Sometimes it can feel isolating, like you’re the only one. This will get a dialogue going across campuses that don’t have the resources, and we can see how we can support them.”