In October 2005, Santa Clara University hosted the first national conference for professionals who address lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues on Catholic campuses.
Nearly 150 people from 40 universities registered for the “Out There” Conference. Among the universities represented were Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Fordham, DePaul, Boston College, College of the Holy Cross, La Salle, and Marquette. Most of those attending were faculty and administrators who work with gay students or subject
matter related to the gay population.
Presenters to the conference were asked to address the question, “Is the institutional mix like oil and water, and do we have more in common with other universities than the general public might guess?” Three of the presenters were Jesuit priests.
Sessions at the conference included “Curriculum and Same-Sex Marriage in a Jesuit University,” “Providing Optimal Health Care for LGBTQ students,” and “Can I Be Gay and Catholic? Encouraging Theological Engagement and Reflection on LGBTQ Issues.”
“I am delighted to see the well-established and influential discipline of LGBTQ Studies discussed by my colleagues from a diverse array of Catholic campuses,” said Linda Garber, co-organizer of the event and the director of SCU’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program.
Lisa Millora, SCU’s assistant dean of student life, and a conference co-organizer, said, “This conference is important in moving the student affairs profession forward in its understanding of the unique experiences and vulnerabilities that gay, lesbian, and transgender students go through.”