A university in Colorado is receiving complaints, including one from an archbishop, after it hosted a drag show.
According to the Catholic News Agency, the controversy began when Regis University provost Janet Houser made a conscious effort to support LGBTQ students at the school.
On October 29, the university’s Queer Resource Alliance, with the help of Houser, sent a letter to faculty about an on-campus “Drag Show featuring student performers” and other events honoring “Transgender Day of Remembrance” on November 15.
The letter also encouraged professors to “assign readings by queer, and especially transgender, authors,” and “add your preferred gender pronouns to your email signature (for example, "she/her/hers").”
As news spread of this letter, complaints started to arise. Eventually, even Denver’s Archbishop Samuel Aquila got involved.
Archbishop Aquila shared the argument, through an open letter, that these sentiments on gender identity go against the teachings of the Catholic faith.
"This guidance is not in conformity with the Catholic faith, despite the attempts made to justify it as rooted in Jesuit values.”
“On the contrary, Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the promotion of gender fluidity as a type of ideological colonization.”
“Why is Regis University promoting and teaching an ideology that is contrary to what we know from the Scriptures?”
Regis University’s president Fr. John Fitzgibbons, SJ, wrote back to Aquila to defend his provost and the Queer Resource Alliance.
“No student or staff member who, in conscience before God, identifies as lesbian, gay, or transgender, should ever be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome in our company,” wrote the president.
“While a ‘Drag Show’ might appear out of place on a Jesuit, Catholic campus, once again, such events, like the Queer Resource Alliance, open a safe space, a merciful space, if you will, for LGBTQ students to show their care and support for one another.”
“For us, to accompany LGBTQ persons with the mercy of Christ means allowing them the dignity of telling their stories and naming their experiences in terms that ring true for them, even while critically examining those terms in light of Catholic teaching.”
The president also noted how there are several programs that are offered at the university to discussion human sexuality, and each one uses Catholic teaching as its basis for discussion.
As a response, the Archdiocese of Denver states that it is trying to set up a meeting with Fitzgibbons and Houser.
In addition, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese says that several university staff, students, alumni, and parents have thanked the Archbishop for his response to the drag show controversy.
h/t: Catholic News Agency