Students support National Coming Out Day

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Dozens of students turned out in support of the GLBT community Thursday to commemorate National Coming Out Day. Allies sponsored the event, and students spray painted T-shirts that said, “Be You. Be True.”

Freshman Jenna Birch said that the event was both positive and fun.

“I think it’s really cool, it’s a cool idea,” Birch said. “I like the shirts. I think it’s a good cause just to be aware, and this is a good way to get the message out.”

Allies President junior J.T. Schuweiler said that the event is a fun way to celebrate a significant moment for members of the GLBT community.

“I thought that kids should have some fun while celebrating one of the most memorable things for every single gay, transsexual, bisexual, lesbian man or woman, which is coming out,” Schuweiler said.

Schuweiler also said that National Coming Out Day is not reserved for only the GLBT community.

“It’s also people coming out as allies, so it’s coming out as somebody who is willing to defend and assist and help the actual GLBT community,” Schuweiler said.

Students got creative with the shirts, laying them flat out, bunching them up and even making pictures.

Freshman Jabulani Mhlanga needed more than one to perfect his.

“I messed mine up. I’m actually going to get another one and try again. I’m not very artistic.”

Tom Graves can be reached at

11 Replies to “Students support National Coming Out Day”

  1. Because we don’t all hold the same beliefs on homosexuality as the Catholic Church, and we pay just as much to go to this school as devout Catholics ;)  Let’s not go down this road again, eh?

  2. Probably because as a Catholic university, UST respects the human dignity of all persons, and upholds the tenants of the church that GLBTQ students “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

  3. Kathryn, that is absolutely true, but at the same time  the Church and Catholic institutions must maintain fidelity to the Church’s teachings on human sexuality and chastity. This passage from a document published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now our current Pope, illustrates nicely what concerns me about the UST Allies and how a Catholic institution should and should not minister to the needs of our brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction. The full document can be found here:

  4. Here is the relevant excerpt:
    “We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.
    We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.
    An authentic pastoral programme will assist homosexual persons at all levels of the spiritual life: through the sacraments, and in particular through the frequent and sincere use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through prayer, witness, counsel and individual care. In such a way, the entire Christian community can come to recognize its own call to assist its brothers and sisters, without deluding them or isolating them.”

  5. Stefan, with all due respect, just because not everyone at a Catholic college is Catholic doesn’t mean that a Catholic college doesn’t have an obligation to maintain its fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church. I wouldn’t expect a Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu college to allow groups that openly disagree and attack key tenets of those religions. I attended one of those colleges, I would do so being fully aware of the religious identity of those institutions.

  6. Oops! Sorry for the typo. My last sentence should have read “If I attended one of those colleges, I would do so being fully aware of the religious identity of those institutions and would not expect them to betray their religious identity to accommodate my beliefs.”

  7. I have to give kudos to Tommie Media for covering this event. Didn’t expect it, a very nice surprise.

  8. Ah, thanks Michael! That’s much clearer. I thought you were taking issue with the event itself, not with Allies– which of course was rather confusing, because so far as I know, the catechism has nothing to say about spray painting t-shirts in support of a disenfranchised, and oft discriminated against, minority group.

    I see your point now, but I remain unconvinced for a couple of reasons. First, I would find it difficult to believe that there is even one person within Allies who is unfamiliar with the church’s teaching on same-sex sexuality, and that part of the document seems to be aimed primarily at organizations that would confuse people about what the actual teaching of the church is. Further to that point, it seems specifically concerned with self-identifying Catholic organizations that nonetheless contradict the church’s teaching on same-sex sexuality. There are many clubs at UST that, while have the sponsorship of a Catholic university, are not specifically Catholic themselves (e.g., College Republicans, table-top gaming club, etc.), so it’s not clear to me that Allies purports to be Catholic, nor is it clear to me (as someone who attended many meetings while a student at UST) that it actually puts forth any teaching whatsoever on the morality of same-sex…

  9. sexuality. And second, I think the preceding paragraph (and the first sentence of the paragraph you quote) give an important context that, to me, makes it even less clear that this statement is applicable to organizations like Allies. It looks as though it’s directed at Bishops in particular, and perhaps priests generally, not to be mislead from Church teaching by organizations that oppose Catholic teaching– nor to support organizations that might have that effect. It seems especially difficult to think of this section as applying to a university, given it is part and parcel of a quality education (even within the Catholic intellectual tradition) that the teachings of the Magesterium are not all that one is exposed to. It would be a different matter if Allies claimed that it was fully consistent with the teachings of the Catholic church that one could act on whatever sexual orientation one might have, in whatever way one pleases, but of course, that’s not what Allies does.

  10. We Catholics must take care about proposing prohibitions on certain campus events. We lose credibility as critics and as Christians when we seek the elimination of events (or groups) for mission violations when they do not, in fact, seriously offend against the mission of the university or the Church.

    It seems to me that Coming Out Day falls into this category. I think that, given the apparent immutability of sexual orientation for most people, “coming out” as homosexual (or “same-sex attracted,” as seems to be the hip new lingo these days) can only be seen as a good thing, regardless of the morality of same-sex sexual behavior. Failure to accept one’s sexual orientation can (and does) lead to immense damage and suffering not only for the closeted homosexual, but for many people related to that person. Only once acknowledged and accepted can a person begin to figure out how to *live* with his or her sexual orientation — which means “coming out” is as important a part of the life of the celibate gay Catholic as it is for anybody else. “Be you. Be true,” is actually a pretty good motto, I think.

    Now, if Allies were out there saying, “Welcome to homosexuality; here’s your Gay Marriage button and booty call hotline,” we’d have a problem. But they’re not,…

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