Loyola University of Chicago is taking heat from an ultraconservative Catholic group for allowing a club of LGBTQ students and allies to host a drag show. The club, The Advocate, holds an annual drag show during LGBTQ History Month to raise money for their scholarship fund. The event is coupled with discussions on gender identity and “serves to bring together the larger Loyola community for a discussion about acceptance of all members of the LGBTQ community.” The group also hosted a panel on “religion and sexuality” and a “safe space ally training.”
But the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), which made news in 2009 for fervently protesting President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, is now attacking Loyola University for allowing the event to take place. Mary Hunt of Religion Dispatches notes that the CNS “monitors speakers, professors, students, and organizations on all the campuses and squeals every time its version of Catholic orthodoxy is transgressed” and particularly focuses on trying to prevent The Vagina Monologues from being performed on campuses.
In a statement, CNS president Patrick J. Reilly claimed that cross dressing undermines “basic standards of decency and morality” and that “drag shows debase the human person”:
“When Catholic parents send their children to a Catholic university they should be able to expect at least basic standards of decency and morality,” wrote Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly in a letter to Loyola’s President last year. “Events like this not only undermine the sacred trust parents have in Loyola University, but may lead to serious personal and social problems caused by confusion about sexuality. Drag shows debase the human person and are an affront to Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person.”