Earlier today, I stumbled upon a petition on Change.Org started by some students on DeSales University’s campus. DeSales is one of the most conservative Catholic schools in PA, so it is not surprising to hear of their discriminatory policies. Still, raising awareness is crucial to our struggle. We should not quietly sit by and give groups a free pass to discriminate. If DeSales refuses to even acknowledge LGBT rights as a valid concern, we should make their ignorance and homophobia publicly known. I encourage you all to sign the petition and spread the words to your friends. Below is the response I left when I signed the petition:
I am a transgender woman living in the Lehigh Valley, and a recent graduate of Millersville University, where I was the president of the GSA there. Queer student groups allow young, confused LGBT folks just coming to terms with their orientation or gender identity, people who are very likely to be rejected by many of their families and friends. Even if their family does happen to be supportive, these students still have to endure bullying and teasing, curriculum that entirely exclude the contributions of LGBT people, other student groups working actively to make the students feel like terrible sinners, Being so thoroughly and repeatedly rejected while trying to study and graduate is a constant drain on queer students that straight students do not experience. A GSA is a place where these students can gather together, share their experiences, and actively work towards acceptance and equality. This draws the ‘wayward’ queer student in, rather than pushing them out, which leads to isolation, further depression, and a downward spiral that all too often ends in suicide. I understand local religious groups are uncomfortable due to their beliefs, but a GSA isn’t asking them to change that. It is providing a resource, a safe space, to keep the LGBT youth safe, to hopefully prevent any more tragic loss of life. To any DeSales student reading this, it DOES get better!