NEW YORK – A group of students at Fordham University is requiring students who attend its meetings to use “gender fluid” language and corrects those who fail to do so, according to a recent article in The Fordham Ram.
The Jesuit university has continued to allow such groups to operate on campus despite their views contrary to Church teaching on sexuality and gender identity.
The article highlighted the University’s “pride clubs” which “help raise awareness for those of all sexualities and all genders” in order “to be inclusive towards all.” The clubs, PRIDE Alliance and Women’s Empowerment—the latter apparently an unofficial student group that uses campus space—make no mention of Catholic teaching on their respective websites. Women’s Empowerment reportedly corrects students if they neglect to use gender-neutral terms at meetings.
Women’s Empowerment “welcomes and encourages all genders to join, and strives to recognize the fluidity of gender, often thought of as a very rigid term,” the Ram reported. “The club also uses very deliberate language, meant to reiterate this fluidity.”
A student representative for Women’s Empowerment told the Ram that the students involved have “a set of community standards that foster a safe and accepting environment.” Students who attend the club meetings “may not be well-versed in some terms used during these meetings, and if someone happens to use cisnormative or heteronormative language, they are quickly and respectfully corrected and their mistake is turned into a learning opportunity for all,” according to the Ram.
The term “genderqueer” is one reportedly used by the group. This is “a term that is synonymous with non-binary, refers to any gender identity that is neither woman nor man. This consequently lies outside the realm of the gender-binary terms ‘man’ and ‘woman,’” the article stated.
However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following on human sexuality:
Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.
PRIDE (People Recognizing Identities & Differences for Equality) Alliance, an official student organization at Fordham, reportedly “hosts many events, such as the Vigil for Change and Coming Out Week.” The article noted that the PRIDE events are supported by students, including “cisgender and heterosexual students interested in learning more about other genders and identities.”
“Over the years, Fordham has incorporated sexual orientation and gender identity into diversity activities that are related to leadership on campus,” the Ram reported. The Cardinal Newman Society has reported on several of these campus activities.
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In 2013, students petitioned Fordham to approve the word “queer” for use in official University events. Fordham acquiesced and the University summarily allowed its first “Queer Prom” on campus the very same year. In 2014, a lecture series titled “IgnatianQ: Finding God in the LGBTQ & Ally Jesuit Student Community” was hosted at the University, featuring speakers with views contrary to Church teaching.
The Cardinal Newman Society contacted Fordham University’s department of student life regarding the actions of the above groups on campus and the threat to the University’s Catholic identity. No response was received.