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viewpoint

Gay student responds to alumnus’ questions

| Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I write in response to Mr. Gregory Bergman’s letter, “Alumnus Questions Campus,” published in the Dec. 10 issue of The Observer. Let me start off by thanking you for your letter to the Notre Dame community. I am still amazed by how involved our alumni remain and truly respect your questions. I hope my answers will help you out. Quotations from the initial letter are in bold; my responses follow each question.

“Are there organizations on campus in support of GLBTQ community walking a fine line on Church teaching? Are they doing just enough to not be antithetical to Church teaching, but somehow promoting ideas against the Church’s teachings?”

This seems more like a rumor proposal than a question, but I assume that you are referring to PrismND. While I am not very involved in the organization this year, I can assure you that PrismND follows the standards set forth in “Beloved Friends and Allies.” However, you must realize that while PrismND is bound by that pastoral document, individual students are not.

Notre Dame is a Catholic institution, but we are not all Catholic. We are a diverse community made up of numerous religions, denominations and political beliefs. If a student has an opinion, he or she has the right to share it, even if it is against the Church’s teaching.

You have the right to hold all of your beliefs, and I fully support that right. However, when that belief turns into an action that seeks to take away my human rights, we begin to have an issue. As a comparison, I do not believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. However, regardless of how unusual I think that belief is, I will continually fight for your right to celebrate it. (Note: I’m only using the word “unusual” because many use that term to describe my sexuality; I do not mean to come off as offensive).

“Is there somewhere a hidden agenda existing that promotes a lifestyle that counters what the Church considers to be God’s natural law?”

If by “hidden agenda,” you are referring to the fact that I am an openly gay student, the fact that I am unashamed of my sexuality, the fact that I completely support a sexual relationship between two individuals who love each other (regardless of sex or gender), the fact that I strive to make fellow gay students comfortable with who they are or the fact that I try to fight against homosexual stereotypes on campus, I can assure you that my agenda in these regards is by no means “hidden.”

“[Does SCOP provide a natural balance] to the Notre Dame community, or is SCOP merely a right-wing extremist group?” 

This is a question that will get you many different answers. There are students who fully believe in the mission of SCOP. There are students unsure of their feelings towards SCOP. And there are students, such as myself, that are deeply skeptical of its mission and utterly disgusted by the speakers it has brought to campus, including those from the Family Research Council, an organization that links my sexuality to pedophilia.

I fully support SCOP in their mission to promote policy-making that places primary emphasis on how any particular policy will affect children, but I don’t support their quest to take away my right to marry or their demeaning of gay relationships.

“For two years now, students have been walking through rainbow doorways on campus to come out as whoever they want to be.”

While this isn’t a question, you have this one wrong. Students have been walking through rainbow doorways to come out as whoever they are, not whoever they want to be. I have only been able to come out as gay because that is who I am. I can’t walk through the door and come out as Bill Gates.

Overall, these issues should not be taken lightly. When you refer to the LGBTQ community, be aware that you are referring to millions of children, teenagers and adults attempting to be their true selves. Humans across the world are being bullied, beaten and killed for their attractions, and in the United States, many teenagers have turned to suicide. These deaths are 100 percent preventable.

If I can offer you one piece of advice, it is to seek out those in the LGBTQ community and have actual conversations with them. I, like many other gay students on campus, am always willing to offer myself as a resource to those who have true questions.

Jake Bebar

senior

off-campus

Jan. 19

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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  • BC

    Thank you for such a well written response.

  • The Future

    Great response. Here’s my response to the alumnus’ question: I believe that the majority of Notre Dame students disregard the church’s teachings on sexuality and strongly support gay rights. I fall into this category of students. However, I respect your right to disagree with me about as much as I respect people who disagree with the voting rights act. Which means if you disagree, I don’t respect your opinion. I consider you a bigot.