University Rejects Petition to Cancel Drag Show

By Theresa Schliep

The university called TFP Student Action’s petition to cancel a Drag Show “cruel” and “dehumanizing.” (Courtesy of Pride Alliance)

The university rejected TFP Student Action’s (TFP) petition to cancel a Drag Show at the Lincoln Center campus, hosted by Lincoln Center Rainbow Alliance and the Rose Hill Pride Alliance. In an email to the university community, a number of administrators from the university called the petition “cruel” and “dehumanizing.”

“The university’s position is that part of Cura Personalis is honoring the individuality of all our students, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation,or gender identity,” said Jonathan Crystal, interim provost, Jeffrey Gray, senior vice president for Student Affairs, and Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., vice president for Mission Integration and Planning.

The Drag Show was part of a broader week of programming to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month. Pride Alliance, in a statement, said the petition by TFP was bigoted and hateful.

“In [writing the petition], this group attacked every member of the LGBTQ+ community thatcalls Fordham their home,” said Pride Alliance.
Pride Alliance responded to the petition and said it wanted the university community to respond to the incident.

“We are also created in God’s own perfect image, and as part of a larger community here at this university, we deserve to be loved, uplifted and taken seriously,” the organization said. “Our community knows that it is right and just to love our neighbors and to stand with them against blind hatred that is cheaply and wrongly masquerading itself as faith.”

Joseph Campagna, GSB ’18, Melissa Ingala, FCRH ’15 and GSAS ’16, James Demetriades, FCRH ’15, and Phil Fraietta, FCRH ’10 and LAW ’14, created a petition and GoFundMe page in response to the TFP petition. Campagna said the group wanted to shift attention away from the negativity and bigotry of the TFP petition.

“Far too often, extremist voices in the Catholic Church attempt to use misconstrued biblical passages to justify a perverse interpretation of Christianity which abandons John the Apostle’s call to people of faith to live with a perfect love for their neighbors,” reads the petition. “Instead of striving for a perfect love, these voices seek to have the Church convey a message of anger and exclusion rather than one of inclusion and love.”

The TFP petition called the week of programming “anti-Catholic” and asked people to contact the university expressing their opinions. The petition has amassed over 13,000 signatures.

Southern Poverty Law Center calls the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, the parent organization of TFP Student Action, “virulently anti-LGBT.”

It is important to emphasize love rather than hate, said Pride Alliance.

“We must lead with love, and yes, with pride, rather than ignoring the issue and hoping it’ll right itself,” said its petition. “We know from history that it never does. We invite you, the rest of the Fordham community, to lead with us in a step in the right direction.”