There’s a ton of events for the LGBTQIA+ community this Pride month, but not all of them are about celebrating diversity in identity and sexuality. Case in point is a discussion organized by the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) which caught online flak for its poster bearing the phrase “those suffering same-sex attraction.” Whether or not the event is well-intentioned, we break down why it’s ultimately discriminatory.
In the now-deleted Facebook post published on June 13 by UA&P CAS, the college invited its faculty and staff to attend a Zoom session of “Ask Father,” a series that aims to help deepen attendees’ “understanding of specific moral or doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church.” The topic for the supposed session led by Fr. Emmanuel Garrido scheduled on June 15 is “Homosexuality and the Catholic Church.”
The poster described the event as “a video reaction-discussion on giving hope to homosexual persons and those suffering same-sex attraction.” As expected, describing same-sex attraction as an affliction did not sit well with many netizens. The college took the initial post down and edited the text in the new poster to “a video reaction-discussion on giving hope to homosexual persons and same-sex attraction.” While both posts have since been deleted, the damage has already been done.
“We apologize for our lack of sensitivity on this matter. The College of Arts and Sciences is currently discussing next steps. We shall revert soonest,” UA&P CAS told Preen when we reached out. UA&P gave us a similar statement. As of writing, the registration link for the event is still active and there’s no word yet on whether or not the event has been canceled.
We also reached out to the UA&P University Student Government for comment and received this response: “We will be releasing a statement very soon. Though, for us, the USG stands and supports the LGBTQIA+ community.”
UA&P is an institution entrusted to the theologically conservative Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Catholic Church. Perpetuating homophobia is among the criticisms against Opus Dei as it preaches that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”
While the stated purpose of UA&P’s “Ask Father” session is to “give hope” to LGBTQIA+ students, we cannot help but be wary of the type of help it will provide if it’s possibly premised on the belief that our community is suffering from a condition.
— Open Table MCC | Metropolitan Community Church (@opentablemccph) April 20, 2022
How do we help queer students, especially those who are religious? By letting them know that homosexuality is not a sin and affirming that religion doesn’t have to contradict their identity and sexuality.
Take Open Table MCC, a progressive church that assures LGBTQIA+ individuals that God loves them. If you’re an educator or religious authority who genuinely cares about the LGBTQIA+ youth, you can get an idea of how to be inclusive within a religious context through their worship services via YouTube or in podcast form.