Students from the University of San Diego (USD), a Catholic affiliated school, prayed for the school to ban a drag show and wrote an open letter voicing their opposition to the performance.
Despite the small protest of Catholic students, the school hosted the event on April 25.
Called “A Celebration of Gender Expression: Supreme Drag Superstar 2,” it featured Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 3 runner-up Manila Luzon.
“The University of San Diego is unquestionably being deceitful by identifying itself as a Catholic University, while permitting the acceptance and promotion of an ideology that is in direct contradiction to the Catholic moral teaching and social tradition,” an open letter stated from a group of students.
The second annual drag show also attracted 600 people, two thirds larger than last year’s show.
“Students of USD PRIDE will once again highlight the principles of inclusion and diversity with their second annual ‘edutainment’ event,” said the University’s Vice-President of Student Affairs Carmen Vazquez in a statement.
“The Celebration of Gender Expression supports the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person and does not promote either behavior or lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of the Church.”
According to Sophomore Ailsa Tirado, she opposed the drag show, as it is “opposed to natural law and served to perpetuate moral confusion rather than provide true spiritual healing.”
According to its modus operandi, “the University of San Diego presents itself as a Roman Catholic institution and, as such, embraces Catholic moral teaching and tradition.”
“Catholic parents who send their children to a university that self-identifies and advertises itself as Catholic should be able to expect at least basic standards of decency and morality,” the open letter continued. “As students, we are obligated to hold our school accountable to that statement, that commitment, which it has made to us the students, and which it is not fulfilling.”
Known for cutting its affiliation with Chick-fil-A over the CEO’s support of traditional marriage, the university has three LGBT alliance clubs called Pride, Rainbow Educators and Safe Space Allies. The university provided resourceful links from Human Rights Campaign and the National Organization for Women (NOW).
The school hosted the drag show last year with many students criticizing the “pro-homosexual show” and the host referring to the queens as “revolutionaries.”
“Some of the suggestions, which resulted were gender neutral bathrooms, an increase in drag related events, and gay pride parades,” one unidentified student commented from last year’s show. “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. This year’s drag show promises to be more of the same.”
The Catholic students do not see the art of drag, homosexuality, and transgender identity as “acceptable parts of the campus.”
Nonetheless, the university continued the show as part of their support for “dignity and equality.”