Festival is dearly missed
Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In his Feb. 17 letter “A Catholic University,” Brad Duffy made the claim that the Queer Film Festival was killed off without causing any ripples in the pond, and that it “is not missed.” I’d like to beg to differ; the Queer Film Festival was one of the tipping points in my decision to attend this school in the first place. As a touring high school senior, I remember passing posters advertising the upcoming festival and feeling less uneasy about the idea of choosing a Catholic school. As a gay Catholic, I was definitely still struggling with reconciling these two identities. Having visual proof that Notre Dame was open-minded enough to encourage an open discussion of homosexuality made me feel that I could live at Notre Dame without feeling like a walking contradiction. And really, Brad Duffy is right – Notre Dame isn’t anti-gay. Or – let me specify – its student body isn’t, at least in my experience. Even among my more conservative friends, I’ve experienced nothing but open-mindedness and support. I’ve been lucky enough to never experience rejection because of my sexuality. But the university itself has a long way to go in terms of accommodating its gay students.
When will Notre Dame approve an official club for gay students? When will the Non-Discrimination Clause extend protection to homosexuals? And – as Tom O’Neil pointed out – what the expletive happened to the Queer Film Festival? I respect Brad Duffy’s right to hold his own views of the rights or wrongs of homosexuality. What I don’t respect is a policy of ignoring issues that make you uncomfortable, or completely closing off the possibility of a fair, well-balanced discussion.
I know the issue of ‘the responsibilities of a Catholic university’ is a horse that’s already been thoroughly beaten in the Viewpoint, but I honestly think any religious person must reflect on and examine – not mindlessly swallow – their religion’s teachings. The Queer Film Festival, as a vehicle for discussion and debate, provided an alternative view of what it means to be gay. It deserved a chance to live longer than it did.