"Gay & Lesbian Trailblazers" Extolled at USD


By Sally Thomsin


October was "Lesbian and Gay Awareness Month" at the University of San Diego. Bright pink flyers posted throughout the campus by USD's Student Alliance Embracing Sexual Orientation (SAESO), an undergraduate group funded by the university through the student government, invited students to increase their "gay and lesbian awareness" by listening to a gay rights activist keynote speaker, attending a gay and lesbian film festival, and learning about the lives of "famous gay and lesbian trailblazers" from an exhibit in the foyer of the Hahn Student Center.


On October 5, Dorothy Hajdys, a gay civil rights activist whose son, Allen Schindler, was murdered by shipmates, allegedly for his homosexual inclinations, while he was a sailor stationed in Japan, gave a keynote address entitled: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell: A Mother Speaks Out." According to the flier, Hadjys' spoke because "I don't want any other mother to go through what I've gone through."


Each Wednesday during the month, students were invited to attend "FilmOUT", a gay and lesbian film festival featuring such movies as Chasing Amy; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Philadelphia; and Birdcage. A discussion on sexual values and decision making followed the showing of Chasing Amy, and Philadelphia was followed by a speaker for AIDS awareness.


In the foyer of student center, a 10-foot, two-panel display commemorated "a few of the many famous gays and lesbians who have contributed to our common history:" One panel contained posters of "Famous Gay Women," "Famous Gay Men," and "Gay Men of Fashion," including actress Ellen Degeneres, Olympic diving medalist Greg Louganis, and the late fashion designer Gianni Versace. Posters on the other panel of the display, titled "Straight but not Narrow," showed pictures and names of gay-friendly companies and "heterosexuals who have lent their voices in support of gay rights." Included were the Walt Disney Company, the San Francisco 49ers football team, and actress Cher.


"It demeans persons to be labeled by their sexual attraction, even if they do not think so," said Fr. Rich Perozich, pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish in City Heights and founder of the San Diego chapter of Courage, "If there have been many persons with same-sex attraction who have accomplished great things, their accomplishments have not been due to their sexual attraction.


"The accomplishments of great people should be celebrated, but the sin of same-sex genital activity should never be celebrated. While the catechism teaches that each one of us should accept his or her sexual identity, that identity is male ordered to female, or female ordered to male. The Catechsim teaches that same sex activity is always disordered.


"Gay and Lesbian Awareness Month" was co-sponsored, among others, by associated students' multicultural programming and social issues, United Front, USD's social issues committee, the ethnic studies program, and the USD women's center. On USD's internet website, the following statement appears under the heading "Academic Freedom":  "Academic freedom requires that the governance of a Catholic university remain autonomous [from the Catholic Church] so that the institution may function effectively. As part of this fundamental commitment to academic freedom there is a responsibility to recognize that the University of San Diego is a Catholic university committed therefore to Catholic principles and values. This places no obligation on faculty, administration, or staff members with regard to their personal beliefs or religious practices, nor does it prevent the statement of personal views which may differ from those held by the Catholic Church."

The promotion of beliefs contrary to Catholic Church teaching -- such as the idea that an "intrinsically disordered" condition such as homosexuality is to be celebrated -- is defended by campus administrators as a necessary condition of "academic freedom,"