News :: National

More Catholic College Holding LGBT Graduations

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday May 3, 2012
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A number of Catholic colleges around the country are holding special graduation ceremonies geared toward LGBT students, the Cardinal Newman Society Blog reported.

Some schools are calling the special events "lavender graduations," including Georgetown University. The college’s president John DeGioia is scheduled to deliver a speech at the school’s LGBT-friendly ceremony and the university’s website describes its lavender graduation as "a special ceremony for LGBTQ and Ally undergraduate and graduate students to acknowledge their achievements, contributions, and unique experiences at Georgetown University."

The ceremony’s keynote speaker is Melissa L. Bradley -- a Georgetown alumna and the CEO of the Tides Foundation. The Tides Foundation is an organization that has made grants to a number of LGBT-friendly groups, such as ACLU, Lambda Legal, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and many more.

The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., also celebrated a lavender graduation. The school said the reception was "an opportunity for the Saint Rose community to acknowledge and honor the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allies for their achievements and contributions to not only the community but also to the college." The school’s website notes that several of the university’s officials will speak at the event and it is an opportunity for LGBT students to "cross the lavender stage to celebrate your success and to receive a Lavender certificate as well as a rainbow tassel."

Next week, St. Mary’s College of California will host their sixth annual Lavender Graduate Celebration.

"We recognize the importance of this milestone [graduation] by offering an intimate celebration for the LGBTQIA community," the college’s website says.

The University of San Francisco will hold its second lavender graduation in mid-May and the school’s website says that last year’s ceremony was intended to raise awareness about the university’s LGBT community.

"In consideration of the need for growing awareness and inclusion, the Intercultural Center at the University of San Francisco is proud to host the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony at USF. The goal of the ceremony is to promote excellence among the GLBTQ and Ally community and recognize the achievements of its diverse members. As members of the committee we are actively engaged in the addressing the growing needs of our students."

The conservative and anti-gay website Free Republic reported the story and it seemed that many of the website’s readers were most upset about the word "lavender" being used for the gay-friendly event.

"Lavender? Now they’ve gone and killed another color. They weren’t satisfied with turning red into a political statement," one person wrote.

"Yep, the color lavender is now a homosexual themed color," another comment reads. "Well, they did that with the word "gay". At one time, gay meant happy and carefree. Now it means homosexual, and only homosexual. It is never used by people according to its dictionary definition anymore. Heck, I was at a Christmas pageant last year at a school. The kids sang a jazzed up version of ’Deck The Halls’, in which the line about ’gay apparel’ was taken out. I assume that the school didn’t want kids saying the word ’gay’."

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