I found Mr. Damian’s notes on “Orientation and Identity” (Feb. 3) logically inconsistent and dangerous. Mr. Damian’s view that all humans have a “natural sexual orientation” to exist in monogamous heterosexual relationships is nothing more than his own normative prescription based on his views of the purpose of creation and, peculiarly, the hormone oxytocin. Mr. Damian proceeds to present having a homosexual orientation as an unnatural desire, and one that should be suppressed in order to lead a “natural” life.
A person’s sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, or any other) is not an unnatural desire, but instead part of their personality that was designed by God. As such, a person’s sexual orientation should be seen as natural and celebrated as a gift from God. The right to live happy, fulfilled lives and have committed, meaningful relationships is not reserved for heterosexuals.
We now must add sexual orientation to our non-discrimination clause precisely because it is such an important part of a person’s identity. We cannot claim to be an inclusive, respectful University while retaining the right to discriminate against someone for this part of their identity. Mr. Damian claims that this would be “degrading” as it defines us “by our desires, rather than who we are.” Again, sexual orientation is more than just a “desire.” We can no more change our sexual orientation than our race, sex or age. I sincerely doubt Mr. Damian would advocate the removal of any of these from our non-discrimination clause.
Until reading Mr. Damian’s letter, I had never heard a member of the Notre Dame community celebrate our reputation as a place where “alternative lifestyles are not an alternative.” This flies in the face of our commitments to inclusion and diversity. In fact, the Notre Dame mission statement declares the desire to cultivate a sensibility to the “injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many,” as well as to “create a sense of human solidarity” within the student body and community. To live up to these goals F. Jenkins and the Notre Dame community must push to add sexual orientation to our non-discrimination clause.