Georgetown forsakes chastity with ‘Gender and Sexuality’ housing

Georgetown University recently approved the designation of “Gender and Sexuality” campus residences for students for the 2018-2019 academic year, even though the proposal had been rejected for the prior year.

Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson told Campus Reform that the residences “will provide a community space for discussion on gender and inclusion while upholding the Jesuit values of community in diversity and educating the whole person.” More revealing is the description in The Hoya by students who petitioned for the special housing, with the strong backing of paid university employees in Georgetown’s LGBTQ Resource Center. They called it a “safe” space for homosexual and “gender nonconforming” students that will “normalize… queerness” and “affirm… gender identity.”

Students who identify as the same gender regardless of their natural sex can live together, as is already the policy across Georgetown’s campus, but the new space is also designed to accommodate roommates who refuse to identify as either male or female.

Recalling that Georgetown is a prominent Catholic university in Washington, D.C., these policies should give us pause. Why would a Catholic university create such confusion about Church teaching and practice on gender, sexuality, and the virtue of chastity? While adhering to the “Land O’Lakes Statement” may play a role, as I argued here, that is no excuse for the failure to uphold Catholic teaching. While university officials may believe they are helping students, it is more likely to actually hinder them from understanding the “whole person” as revealed by Christ.

Before even considering the potential for immoral activity, has Georgetown considered the recent studies suggesting that those who are in homosexual relationships are unhappy and unhealthy? In Crisis Magazine, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi claims that mood and anxiety disorders are almost three times greater among homosexual men, deliberate self-harm is two to ten times greater, and nicotine dependence is five times greater. Moreover, children who are raised in homes with homosexual parents reportedly have low graduation rates. We can always be certain that total freedom does not allow people who deny God’s purposes to be happy—nor is it really freedom, since true freedom is the ability to act and choose in accordance with the truth.

The Church teaches that God created man as male and female, for the purposes of marriage and procreation of children. The natural union of man and woman in marriage, bound by indissolubility, brings children into the world and creates a stable relationship in which they can grow up and flourish (CCC 2360-2363). With care and compassion, this understanding of marriage and sexuality should be promoted by a Catholic university, especially considering that most of the students are young adults who are away from home for the first time and learning how to be members of society. But rather than considering the common good of the students, Georgetown appears to be endorsing the ideologies of the secular world.

Moreover, Georgetown’s new “Gender and Sexuality” residences do not foster growth in the virtue of chastity; the university is inviting openly homosexual students and students of the opposite sex—despite claiming the same gender—to live together. Unlike some Catholic campuses, which have strict policies against sexual activity in single-sex dorms with no inter-visitation—such as Wyoming Catholic College and Thomas Aquinas College—Georgetown is providing the opportunity for potentially unchaste relationships. As the Catechism explains, people with same-sex attraction—like all people—are called to chastity (CCC 2359). How is promoting “Gender and Sexuality” housing for such students promoting the virtue of chastity?

Young people attending Catholic universities do not need to hear what the world wants them to believe; rather, they need to hear the truth of Jesus Christ, Who calls everyone to live chaste lives, in accordance with their individual states in life. Organizations such as Courage can help, but Catholic universities must step up to the plate. Instead of supporting the exploitation of sexuality in campus residences—and that includes residences for all students—Catholic universities should promote the virtue of chastity on campus and the Church’s teaching on sexuality, gender, and marriage. That is what makes a Catholic university unique and important, for the good of the students.

VERONICA ARNTZ graduated from Wyoming Catholic College with a degree in the classical liberal arts. She is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in theology from the Augustine Institute.

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