SAN DIEGO -- The University of San Diego's (USD) PRIDE organization will host a drag show tonight on the campus, despite complaints from an alumnus who has threatened to pull his support of the school, saying the event is contrary to Catholic beliefs.
Citing a California state law passed in October 2011, AB 887 and USD's addition of "gender identity" and "gender expression" to its Equal Opportunity Policy and Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment, USD president Mary Lyons approved the event, receiving numerous letters of support from community members commending her decision.
In response, prominent local attorney Charles LiMandri, a big supporter of Proposition 8 and whose son is a freshmen at the university, launched a website, " Alumni for a Catholic USD." On the site LiMandri writes:
We need your help for a few minutes to stop a grievous injury to the Body of Christ.
Hard as it is to believe, on April 11, 2012, the University of San Diego, which is my alma mater and a Catholic institution, is planning to hold its first on-campus "drag show." As described in my email below to key alumni, USD is even planning to have a local "drag queen" appear as emcee.
LiMandri then encourages readers to contact Lyons to "lodge objection to this corrupt event."
In response to LiMandri's objections, a group of USD alumni created a website, " A USD For Everyone."
The website, which is signed by a number of alumni who served as student leaders during their time at USD, encourages community members to thank Lyons and the university's administration for working to make the campus a more inclusive environment.
San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria, who is a 2000 USD alumnus, signed on to the website, along with current USD student body president Anthony Tanner Pavlovic.
Nicholas Severson, a Class of 2007 alumnus, and former Associated Students vice president, said he has never been prouder of the USD community.
"I am not only confident that this event will be informative to all students, but I also believe it will help the LGBT students know that their identity is affirmed by the community," Severson said. "I am inspired by their spirit of inclusion and hope we will see a conversion of heart so that all of members,both past and present see the beauty of a diverse and celebratory community.”
Tonight's drag show and other events being held throughout the month are a part of series of programs being sponsored by the PRIDE club and USD Associated Students, including an education workshop on the transgender community; a presentation by Dr. Lori Watson on history and meaning of "drag" in U.S. culture; and "The Day of Silence."
Student organizers say that tonight's drag show is the first to be held at the school, and the 200 tickets that were made available yesterday sold out in a matter of hours.
The show begins at 7 pm in USD's University Center building, in Forums B & C.
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