The following Viking Voices was originally written as a Facebook post by Anthony Hudson, Portland State alumnus and has been shared with the author’s permission.
I watched the students at Concordia University Queer Straight Alliance agonize and fight with their university over trying to let them book me to host their drag bingo event at least three times in the past few years. I saw their club and their integrity (as well as my own) called into question and attacked. I saw the students leave a door nailed full of messages of protest at their president’s office in full Martin Luther–style. I saw (and proudly own one of) their club posters removed from view whenever higher-ups in the Lutheran Church would visit. I never spoke up until now.
But now, after countless ups and downs, the QSA is being disbanded for failing to adhere to university policy. Here’s the thing: The QSA exists so that LGBTQ students have a safe(r) place to go and meet students like them and talk about their experiences. Whether or not Concordia accepts the existence of queer people, they certainly benefit from queer students paying for an education from them, and these students deserve the right to assemble and exist together as a recognized group.
When my high school GSA was the first in our district and parents threatened to protest outside, I’ll never forget our principal responding to their complaints by asking if they wanted their students to feel safe and that that’s why groups like ours were necessary. This isn’t just a matter of equality, this is a matter of SAFETY. Suicide rates and mental health crises and the threat of homophobic violence are higher among LGBTQ youth than many others, and, especially going through their college years in an environment where their personhood is continuously attacked (and by a “leadership” that these students so peacefully and non-confrontationally keep trying to engage with in the hopes of gaining some sort of equality), these students NEED and DESERVE a place to simply be themselves together.
I am so proud of each and every student I got to meet in the QSA, and I wish I could be there today. Shame on the Lutheran Church, and shame on Concordia.
Anthony Hudson is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, performer, and filmmaker. Anthony lives in Portland, Ore. among lush greenery, sprawling gentrification and a not-mutually-exclusive fear of bridges and earthquakes. Anthony is perhaps best known as Portland’s premier drag clown Carla Rossi, an immortal trickster whose attempts at realness almost always result in fantastic failure. —source: Anthony’s website.
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