One of the first questions someone between the ages of 18 and 24 usually gets asked is “what college/university/technical school do you go to?” Of course, if you’re reading this article you more than likely have the same answer as I do, “Point Loma Nazarene University”, and then you go on to explain it’s a small, private Christian university in San Diego.
No one usually questions it, but if I have already made it clear that I identify as a lesbian, or am wearing one of my many rainbow colored articles of clothing, the next question is always, “Woah, are you out on your Christian campus?! What’s that like? Do you like it?” It’s odd for sure, but there’s definitely a much larger LGBTQIA+ community on campus than most people would guess, plus there’s Voices of Love (an awesome group on campus dedicated to providing a safe space for people to feel loved), and I also have the most supportive friends imaginable.
I think the main difference between going to PLNU as a queer person versus a public school is that everyone knows everyone’s business – and also, everyone has an opinion on everyone else’s business. I think I face more polarized opinions and less apathy, because people on our campus (and in our faith communities) have strong opinions on how to interpret the Bible.
People on campus either are super supportive or state that the “Bible is very clear,” meaning they believe that God clearly condemns homosexuality. This is probably one of the most common and most hurtful comments I receive. Because of this, my whole life can’t be advertised quite the same way the average Loma student’s can be… but here I am writing in the paper so I’m clearly not hiding much.
It’s gradual, but it’s really cool to see other queer people so involved in various groups on campus, despite some groups not being as welcoming as others, and I genuinely believe PLNU is becoming more inclusive day by day. We aren’t there yet, but one day, a student’s sexuality won’t make any difference.
For now, no matter what you think the bible states about homosexuality, practice loving one another fully, not excluding a person’s sexuality, but including it; I think we can all learn to do that.
If you’re genuinely curious what it’s like to be gay on campus, ask one of the LGBTQIA+ people you know, attend a Voices of Love meeting, or come to the Voices of Love event tonight: Christianity and the LGBTQIA+ Community in the ARC at 7:30.
Lauren Cazares is a junior political science major.