Creating safe spaces for students to feel comfortable being themselves is a top priority for Loyola. Holding onto the traditions of the Catholic Church is also a priority for Loyola University Chicago. Some people wonder how these two ideas can coincide.
On Thursday, Feb. 5, I attended the LGBTQI Faces of Faith panel held on in McCormick Lounge on Loyola’s Lakeshore campus. The panel consisted of four speakers from different spiritual backgrounds, all of whom identified as some form of LGBTQI.
Miguel Macias who works as a program coordinator for the department of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs mediated the panel. The guests included the Rev. Brittany Isaac, a pastor at Urban Village Church in Andersonville, Oliver Goodrich, a Christian Life Community coordinator at Loyola, Cindy Enger, a rabbi at the Or Chadash congregation and Mary Otts, the producer of SVARA, a non-profit Judaic study space.
All four guests aimed to educate people who identify with both religion and queerness and to ultimately empower them to embrace their faith even in light of possible confrontation.
Although each guest comes from a unique background and faith system, they have all faced some form of adversity along the way for their sexuality. Each panelist aimed to share their experiences and provide guidance for others.
Macias also runs a program at Loyola called Safe Space Training where people who identify as heterosexual can learn the techniques and tools to make a more inclusive community.
“Tonight is a great example. We have student diversity and multicultural affairs partnering with campus ministry so it’s this really great partnership that we’re trying to model for the rest of the institution,” Macias said.