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Continue progress on LGBTQ issues

| Friday, December 5, 2014

Remember two years ago? Two years ago, Barack Obama was reelected. The royal baby captivated our nation, sight unseen. Notre Dame was going to the national championship as the No. 1 team. These events stick in our minds and bring back salient memories of how our lives were changed, yet despite heavy coverage in The Observer, and a major press release by the University, another event in the fall of 2012 may not be remembered so clearly.

On Dec. 5, 2012, Notre Dame took a large step towards creating a more inclusive community when it reaffirmed its commitment to its LGBTQ students by releasing the Pastoral Plan, Beloved Friends and Allies. Members of Student Affairs, Fr. Jenkins’ team and faculty and staff all over campus came together, performing a review of University services that demonstrated their commitment to the Holy Cross values upon which Notre Dame was founded. After more than 27 years of struggle, campus welcomed the creation of an official student organization, an advisory committee for Student Affairs and a full-time staff position, all focused on inclusion for its LGBTQ students. This tangible action was manifested administrative support of a burgeoning student conversation, led by some of the best student and campus leaders in recent Notre Dame history. Things have changed over the last five years for this campus, and LGBTQ people are becoming more tangibly recognized as a part of the Notre Dame family.

Unfortunately, when putting on campus events, we are still asked questions that amount to: “Look, I totally support you LGBTQ students, but why do you have to be so in-my-face about it?” On our second birthday, we’d like to answer this question:

Because the words “we respect human dignity” are meaningless if what follows fails to recognize the humanity of LGBTQ people.

It’s not enough to pay lip service to love and respect. Without engaging in concrete actions that support a community, rhetoric can prove empty to those who need it most. Spread the love – it’s important to be accepting, but it is as important to make this acceptance known to those it will most positively impact.

Because students still have experiences with unsupportive parents, educators or peers.

From personal interactions with Prism members, to Mr. London’s letter Wednesday, we are constantly reminded of the negative consequences of people’s attitudes. Tolerance does not soothe the wounds of discrimination. It’s acceptance that demonstrates true goodwill and a desire for reconciliation.

Because sexuality and gender are universal experiences.

Each and every person has a unique and valued sexuality and gender; where you fall on the spectrum is an important part of your personhood. Identifying with a sexuality or gender that is more accepted in the mainstream discourse does not mean it is somehow more valuable – all people’s personal stories are part of a tapestry of experience that all should work to cherish.

Because looking at LGBTQ people only as burdened individuals does not fully capture a person’s experience of their sexuality and gender.

Recently, the Synod on the Family debated and ultimately rejected the use of a phrase saying that homosexual persons have “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” Rather than a change in Church doctrine, it would have been a reframing of how we should see our LGBTQ peers. It challenges us to look at others not as deficient, but as containing a whole person, bringing with them their own valuable perspective and personal experiences.

As a community, we have the ability to come together and manifest our love into a true family, welcoming to all people. On this two year anniversary, we invite you to join us in committing to fully supporting, loving and accepting all LGBTQ students.


Lilian Crawford


Badin Hall

Bryan Ricketts


Duncan Hall

Dec. 3

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • NDaniels

    How does identifying oneself or someone else according to sexual attraction/ orientation respect our Dignity as sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers?

    • ND Senior

      The authors aren’t arguing that we should label people based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, nor are they arguing that those things are the only things that define a person. Treating someone with dignity means that we should love them wholly. We do not love people “regardless of” their sexual orientation or “in spite of” their sexual orientation; we love people for who they are and everything that makes them who they are. A person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are both integral to their identity, and we should acknowledge that they shape a person’s life and experiences. We love people for who they are as a WHOLE person, which includes but is not limited to LGBT status.

      • NDaniels

        Sexual desire/orientation is not a status. As Catholics, we recognize that respect for the Dignity of all persons, requires that we are chaste in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds.
        Every human person has the inherent right to be treated with Dignity and respect in private as well as in public. Love is ordered to the personal and relational inherent Dignity of the human person, who is not, in essence, an object of sexual desire, but a son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, father, mother. To deny this truth about the inherent essence of the human person, is to deny the inherent essence of Love.
        Love is not possessive, nor is it coercive, nor does it serve to manipulate for the sake of self-gratification. Love serves for the good of oneself and the other, which is why we all need to recognize the value of a Loving friendship grounded in authentic Love, that reflects the inherent personal and relational Dignity of the human person, and is thus ordered to the good of all persons.

  • ND Senior

    Beautifully written! The Notre Dame community has come a long way in embracing our LGBTQ members and PrismND has played a key role, but we still have a long way to go. Thanks for helping people understand the LGBTQ rights movement and pushing us closer towards true equality.

    • NDaniels

      Our inherent rights, come from God, who created us to live our lives in Loving relationship as sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers. We are not, in essence, objects of sexual desire/ orientation. Our Dignity comes from having been created to live in Loving relationship with one another in communion with, The Communion of Perfect Love that Is The Blessed Trinity.

  • NDaniels

    Being male or female is integral to who we are as human persons.

    • Alum

      correct, and so do the laws of attraction and the acts of expressing love towards one another, which include engaging physically with one another. male and female, female and female, male and male…..it makes zero difference. it is as natural to the human body as the need for eating, sleeping, breathing, excreting and so on.