With the Jesuit LGBTQ conference Ignatian Q headed to Georgetown this March, the university has solidified its role as a facilitator of dialogue regarding the intersection of LGBTQ and religious identities.
Movements that seek to effect change are often confronted with opposition — for many years, the Georgetown establishment was one of these obstacles in the fight for LGBTQ rights on campus. However, Georgetown has commendably developed a different approach in recent years, in contrast to many other Catholic campuses,where LGBTQ groups have to swim upstream for even the most basic recognition.
As a community, we have proven the judiciousness of enacting change from within a system, rather than chipping at the system from the outside. Ignatian Q is a powerful representation of this fresh angle, organizing a space to discuss the meaning of identifying as a sexual or gender minority, framed within a language that articulates LGBTQ understandings of self within a Jesuit mindset.
At once, it is evident that colorful harmony can be achieved, as our community comes even closer to the ultimate understanding of a Catholic identity by embracing, instead of denying.
After all, at its core, “catholic” means to be universally reaching; it means to have wide sympathies, and to be embracing to all. So when this campus challenges the problem of whether an LGBTQ identity can fit within the Catholic sphere, it is important to ponder the two alternatives at hand: Would it be more harmful to Georgetown’s Catholic identity to integrate another modern group of people into our community or to turn our backs on an enduring conflagration of exclusion and violence?
To many, the Catholic Church is a static and pristine entity, resisting waves of change through the centuries. But the great achievement of Catholicism has also been how the Catholic mindset continues to integrate modern problems into one comprehensive mode of thinking.
By embracing these modern challenges as an allied community, Georgetown sets an example for Jesuit, Catholic and even secular universities.