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AllianceND focuses on tolerance, support

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I wanted to talk about a certain group I represent, AllianceND. You might know this group better by those orange ‘Gay? Fine by me’ shirts. Indeed, I find it encouraging that the shirts (while admittedly not the height of fashion) do stand out and are recognized by most people on campus.

But my aim here is to try and explain to some who may not know just what that orange-shirted group stands for. It’s true, the slogan on the shirt almost encapsulates any kind of mission statement I could come up with, but it doesn’t quite cover everything.

AllianceND is an as-yet-unrecognized gay-straight alliance which works to create a tolerant and welcoming atmosphere for the entire Notre Dame family. We stand against homophobia and discrimination, which can and do occur at Notre Dame.

We attempt to create a voice for an important group which we believe is not adequately represented by the university. I realize I might seem like a complete idiot with this next thought, but I believe this group not only to be uncontroversial, but necessary to create a truly catholic (in the universal sense of the word at the very least) atmosphere here at Notre Dame.

Catholic doctrine states nowhere, and rightly so, that gay people are evil people less worthy of compassion and respect. Thus, why would the showing of compassion and respect for gay individuals, the showing of tolerance, be controversial?

Moreover, the fact that our school is a family in the truest sense of the word necessitates that we take care of our own. The administration no doubt agrees with this idea to some extent, which is why we have the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students.

Let me be the first to commend the administration for the creation and implementation of this group, as their accomplishments are valuable and appreciated.

But I must also express my opinion that this group is not enough to effectively serve the gay community, and AllianceND is naturally my solution to this problem.

The reasons behind my feelings would probably lengthen this article to a few pages of newspaper, so I regrettably won’t go into specifics, but I point to the large support AllianceND receives from students, faculty, administration, and members of other groups dedicated to serving the gay community (including the Core Council itself) as evidence to the probability of my feelings being justified.

Tolerance is a fairly easy idea to follow: all one must do to be tolerant is not wrong another. You could do that in your sleep. So I don’t even have to ask anyone out there to try to be tolerant.

I, and the organization I represent, only ask you not to do anything disrespectful or degrading to our gay community here at Notre Dame. Well, maybe that and to wear your orange shirts in unity every once in a while.

Alex RenfroseniorAlumni HallSept. 24