A Catholic Student’s Perspective on the USD Drag Show


As a student who has attended USD for the past three years, I must express my deep concern over the recent events, which have occurred on campus. On Wednesday, April 11, USD hosted its first ever DRAG show, presented by PRIDE. The stated desire was to promote a more tolerant and accepting atmosphere for LGBTQ persons, as well as an “entertaining and educational” means of discussing gender roles in society. Despite the stated desire for a discussion, the Catholic view and reasons for that view were not represented.

The event which transpired was anything but educational and presented a biased view regarding the nature of DRAG, homosexuality, and transgender lifestyles. In actuality, the event sought to normalize lifestyles contrary to Catholic social teachings, through an intellectually dishonest representation of human history and a skewing of the actual issue at hand. In one among many arguments for example, the hosts of the show sought to do this by likening modern DRAG to ancient forms of theatre where men played female roles. Thus, the hosts claimed that DRAG had been around forever and was therefore acceptable. This explanation, however, is dishonest, as it compares two events which are done for entirely different reasons and fails to address the actual issue behind DRAG, which is predominately a means of homosexual expression.

The event felt more like an underhanded attempt at indoctrination than anything else. This feeling was furthered by the banning of video, photography, and audio recording, which came across as a desire for secrecy.  Even worse, the hosts of the event sought to encourage the performers as well as the audience, referring to them as “revolutionaries,” to take a more active role in making DRAG, homosexuality, and transgender identity an acceptable part of the campus.

Some of the suggestions, which resulted were gender neutral bathrooms, an increase in DRAG related events, and gay pride parades. It became rather clear over the course of the two and a half hours, that the event was less about acceptance and more about an open rebellion against Catholic values. Make no mistake, this event fostered sinful behaviors and set the stage for more in the future.

For the administration of a Catholic University to take part in this scandal came across as a betrayal, not only a betrayal of the Church but also a betrayal of every devout Catholic student who attends USD. As stated in the USD Mission Statement, “The University of San Diego expresses its Catholic identity by witnessing and probing the Christian message as proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church. The University promotes the intellectual exploration of religious faith, recruits persons and develops programs supporting the University's mission, and cultivates an active faith community. It is committed to the dignity and fullest development of the whole person.”

There is only one message that USD should teach and that is the message of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. While it is fine for those who are not a part of the Church, or for those who may not agree with Church teaching, to attend USD, it is not acceptable for USD to encourage them in their ways. God calls us to love our neighbor; however, he also calls us to lovingly admonish those who engage in sinful practices. We cannot truly call ourselves Christians if we sit idly by and hide the light of Christ from the world, nor can we claim to love a person, while refusing to correct them in behavior that could jeopardize their immortal soul. This is where I see USD failing miserably, as the administration foolishly believes that the acceptance of a person also entails condoning their lifestyle, regardless of how damaging it is to their person.

How can we be “committed to the dignity and fullest development of the whole person,” while failing to correct sinful conduct? Unfortunately, this most recent event is indicative of a general attitude of anti-Catholicism at USD, most visible in the Theology Department *, though blatantly obvious throughout much of the Liberal Arts Department and supported by the administration. Many of the professors are openly against Church teachings or espouse heretical views masked as Church teaching .   It is appalling to see how many students come from USD either having their faith twisted or diminished. It is distressing to know that so much potential for the Church is being squandered on USD’s campus. Action needs to be taken and I would be grateful to see this issue addressed on my campus.

I would like to mention, however, that I find nothing wrong with the priests who work on campus and that this is not a blanket condemnation of every professor or member of the administration, rather I am addressing what would appear to be the majority and most vocal aspects of the university.

* see Statements from USD Theology Students