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What It's Like Being LGBT at a Catholic College

Posted on 6/14/2019 2:28:55 PM by Katie McCauley

Hello everyone, and happy pride month to all my LGBT brothers and sisters and the allies who help make our community a better one. As an LGBT student who has attended Catholic school my entire life, my journey to where I am today has not been an easy one. However, choosing the right college can be a crucial step in ensuring that you continue to succeed, not despite your orientation but including it. I believe that I made the right choice, and you can too.

There are a lot of factors that go into the average student’s decision on which college to go to. Whether they are sports players, future specialists in their respective fields, or simply young students looking for an excellent education, many people are influenced by their lifestyles in choosing their path to higher education. These factors can be crucial to their enjoyment, success, and even safety in college. My journey was no different.

I am many things, all of which are of equal importance: a woman, a writer, a feminist, a person who struggles with issues such as anxiety and depression. All of these things (and more) were partial influences as to which college I attended. For example, my anxiety issues led me to a “smaller” college, where the classes were mostly 25 people and below, and I, as a student, could get to know my teachers and be able to easily ask for help. As a feminist, I was sure to choose a college where I could major or minor in gender and body studies, which will help me write and/or analyze feminist literature (or just literature with a feminist subtext) in the future. A huge part of my decision, though, was my orientation, and whether or not any given college would be safe for me.

It was also very important to my parents that I attend a Catholic school, which certainly limited my options as far as being out in college. I needed a school that would accept me for who I am, where I would face little backlash or hatred for simply existing.

Enter Cabrini University.

Though a Catholic school, Cabrini University is also a liberal arts college, which read to me as a potential safe place. After visiting, though, I knew I could call the college home. It fit all of my qualifications, and it felt like a safe place for me to be.

In my two years at Cabrini thus far, they have done wonders for me in terms of my sexuality and identity. I’ve been able not only to make friends who are also a part of the LGBT community, but also to help shape Cabrini for students who come after me. I have been able to construct a life for myself that helps nourish me as a person and that will continue to help those around me even after I graduate.

This year, I was able to refound and recreate the club Spectrum, a place for LGBT students and allies to gather on campus. Although it had died out just before my freshman year, through hard work (and the help of the other founders and officers), we were able to rebuild the club from the ground up. It has truly helped me channel my orientation into something helpful for those around me, and give me a more positive outlook on myself. The community of students we have accumulated is incredible, and I wouldn’t change my experiences with them at Cabrini for the world.

Also, just last month, I was given an incredible opportunity (with the help of our club’s faculty advisor) to speak with the Cabrini University faculty and staff and help them become more informed allies to the LGBT community. We were able to answer their questions, ask those of our own, and begin a dialogue with them that will make Cabrini an even more incredible and accepting place to be.

I have always, and will always, consider Cabrini my second home, and the people there my family. A true family loves and accepts you no matter what, and that is undoubtedly true of my experience at Cabrini.