The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Photos around the highrises. Credit: Stephen Dong , Stephen Dong

A newly revived group for queer religious students is gaining ground at Penn.

Nursing junior Andre Rosario, an openly gay and Catholic student, rebooted the Queer Christian Fellowship last semester, with hopes of creating a safe community where members from different sexual orientations, gender identities and spiritual backgrounds can discuss sexuality and faith.

The QCF was first founded in 2007 by a group of students who were active in the Christian Association and felt that no religious group on campus was specifically addressing issues important to LGBTQ students. But when the founding group of students graduated in 2011, student involvement declined and the group died out.

“When I came to campus in August 2012 … the QCF was inactive,” Campus Minister of the Christian Association Megan Lecluyse said. “But when Andre, a voice outside the Christian Association, expressed that such a group was needed on campus, we knew revitalizing QCF was the best way to go.”

Rosario feels the QCF is necessary at Penn because it is important for the University to have a religious community where queer students can share similar experiences and discuss common challenges they face reconciling their LGBTQ and religious backgrounds. 

“Resentment builds up over the years, especially when other friends at church aren’t able to address both parts of the issue. But having someone else who’s been there can help you feel less alone and more at peace,” Rosario said.

For Rosario, the journey to reconcile his religious and sexual orientation is still in progress. “I still feel like the Catholic Church is not a place where I feel acknowledged in full for who I am," Rosario said. “I know that my sexuality isn’t all there is to me, but it has influenced every other part of me, and I wish I didn’t have to be quiet about that.”

The QCF’s re-establishment has not been met with negativity on campus, Rosario and Lecluyse said, and other Christian groups have referred students to the QCF. “We know other Christian groups might disagree with us, but they still refer students to us and are trying to do what’s best for the students,” Lecluyse said.

“I’m actually surprised how easily things have happened,” Rosario added.

The QCF will hold its first general meeting in Harnwell College House next Thursday. While the focus of the group has not yet been decided, possible activities include reading scripture and discussions on faith.  “It depends on who comes to our meetings," Rosario said. "We’ll have to adjust as we go.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.