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UST Allies celebrate National Coming Out Day

By , Reporter  |  Friday, October 11, 2013 10:27 PM

Students from the St. Thomas Allies club gave away T-shirts outside the Anderson Student Center Thursday in celebration of National Coming Out Day.

National Coming Out Day, which takes place on Oct. 11, is a day for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to come out to friends and family. The T-shirts, which say “Straight up gay,” are meant to help students celebrate their identities.

Senior Danielle Tschida, UST Allies president, said she hopes National Coming Out Day will encourage acceptance among the student body.

“Hopefully this will create a more aware and inclusive space on campus,” Tschida said.

Faculty adviser Cara Anthony and other members of the St. Thomas Allies club handed out T-shirts to celebrate National Coming Out Day. NCOD takes place October 11. (Grace Pastoor/TommieMedia)

Faculty adviser Cara Anthony and other members of the St. Thomas Allies club handed out T-shirts to celebrate National Coming Out Day. NCOD takes place October 11.
(Grace Pastoor/TommieMedia)

Cara Anthony, UST Allies faculty adviser, said National Coming Out Day means different things for everyone.

“If we look at some of the reasons why people are supporting it, people are saying things like, ‘I’m proud to be who I am,’” Anthony said. “There’s a lot of reasons to support National Coming Out Day.”

Senior Jordan Graf and his partner, senior Dalton Neu, said they came out as a couple more than two years ago, and are still involved in the process. Graf said being openly gay on a Catholic campus can be challenging as well as rewarding.

“It was difficult, because on a Catholic campus, especially surrounding the marriage amendment … there was more controversy around it,” Graf, a former seminarian, said. “There’s not an openness; the climate on campus is not a healthy one for gay students.”

On Thursday, Ed Burns, chairman of the Committee to Restore St. Thomas University to the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul, which is not affiliated with the university, handed out pamphlets explaining what he calls, “the homosexual problem at St. Thomas.” The 10-page pamphlet claims that St. Thomas is too accepting of LGBT students.

“I believe that the teachings of the Church should be followed (at St. Thomas),” Burns, who called homosexuality a “disorder,” said.

But Neu, also a former seminarian, said he does not believe homosexuality is incompatible with Catholic teaching.

“(When we came out) a lot of people had questions regarding how we were reconciling our actions with our religious and theological backgrounds,” Neu said. “I always kept coming back to the whole idea of recognizing love where it’s found. To me, a God of contradictions doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Junior Scott Windey said he doesn’t support National Coming Out Day for theological and secular reasons.

“I believe that marriage is and ought to be defined as between one man and one woman,” Windey said. “I do not think it is right to force the general population to accept something as right or good.”

Freshman Shannon Twiss said she is participating in National Coming Out Day to support people she knows who are LGBT.

“Coming out is something many of my friends have experienced,” Twiss said. “It’s kind of a challenge for some people so we’re trying to up visibility for allies and for LGBT*Q students on campus.”

Graf said it’s important to feel safe when coming out.

“For me (coming out) is not about flinging open closet doors and coming out in a tutu,” he said. “It’s a day where kids can be courageous, and they can trust that the people wearing the T-shirts are there to love them. It’s a day to be very brave.”

Grace Pastoor can be reached at past6138@stthomas.edu.

This item was posted in Latest News, News and has 6 comments so far.

6 Comments

  1. Dick Houck ’51
    Oct. 13, 2013 12:33 PM

    The reporter of this article, as one at a Catholic school, has done a poor job of reporting on this event. A good reporter at this Catholic school would have included the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality and acts by those who are afflicted with same sex attraction. The celebration of same sex attraction should be considered akin to celebrating any other abnormal physical affliction. The Church teaches that those who experience same sex attraction should be accepted and loved as God’s children the same as any other person. However, sexual acts between same sex couples are serious offenses against God’s commandments the same as sexual acts between unmarried heterosexual couples. (Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church). Homosexual individuals are obliged to chastity the same as unmarried heterosexual individuals. Catholic schools must always reflect Catholic teaching in its entirety. Catholic reporters for Catholic publications at Catholic schools are obliged to do this without having to be prompted. That is the mission of a Catholic school and should also be the mission of UST. I hope those responsible would take note.

  2. John Bruggeman
    Oct. 14, 2013 9:49 AM

    Mr. Houck

    I have a simple question for you.  If the Catholic Church did an about face and decided that homosexuality was within the bounds of normal human sexuality, would you accept this change?

  3. Jake anderson
    Oct. 14, 2013 1:12 PM

    Dear Grace, I realize that there may be students on campus who have been deeply hurt as a result of something that that may not have any control over — their sexual inclinations. As a Christian-Catholic, it is my desire and duty to always treat them with the dignity they deserve as persons created by the Lord. However, it is also the duty of all Christians (married, single, “straight” or those having same-sex attraction) to practice chastity. This is not my opinion, but is rather part of the official teaching of the the living Body of Jesus Christ. I sincerely hope that UST Allies considers the the official teaching of the Church and the virtue of chastity as opposed to promotion of promiscuity. 

  4. Bryan Kujawa
    Oct. 14, 2013 1:52 PM

    Ah, Mr. Bruggeman, you are showing your own lack of understanding concerning the teachings of the Catholic Church. This teaching concerning marriage is not a teaching the Church randomly created; rather, it was given to the world by God in the Sacred Scriptures. Thus, the teaching concerning marriage between one man and one woman is not an area where the Church can simply do “an about face” and decide that other types of union may fall into the realm of marriage. This teaching is unchangeable. It appears Mr. Houck will be remaining strong in his Catholic faith for quite some time, at least in terms of the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage. Perhaps it would be best if most people understood this and actually took the time to discover that it is God they are battling rather than the Church He gave us.

    As for me, I would rather not battle God, for He is God and I am not. His vision is clear and mine tends to get fogged up by my own selfish wants and desires. For that reason, I turn to the Scriptures and to the Church set up by Christ, for they both bring much more clarity to my life and allow me complete freedom and show me how to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and body.

  5. John Bruggeman
    Oct. 14, 2013 5:20 PM

    Mr.  Kujawa

    You are answering a much larger question than the one I asked.  Mr Houck said “same sex attraction should be considered akin to celebrating any other abnormal physical affliction.”  I am simply curious if he would change his opinion to stay in line with the Church should it ever conclude that God made gay people as normal as straight people.  Perhaps there is answer to this question in scriptures.

  6. John Vinton
    Oct. 21, 2013 9:42 PM

    Mr. Bruggeman,
    to be honest it is impossible for the Church to teach the opposite of her position on homosexuality. If she did, that would be a corruption of doctrine. This is a contradiction that would cause the Church to cease to exist, and I among others would cease to be Catholic for lack of a Church. The Church cannot change the natural law. That is outside her jurisdiction. So if the Church changed her position on homosexuality like that, there would be no Church to accept it from, therefore I wouldn’t accept it. It should be noted that the Church doesn’t teach about “gay people being as normal as straight people.” The Church teaches that homosexuality is disordered, but we don’t label people or define them by their sins, or their sexual orientation (two different things.) Sorry for the long response, I hope it makes sense.

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