Same Love, Same God was the first retreat at The University to emphasize the issues that face the LGBTQA community. A group containing both members of the LGBTQ community and straight allies stayed at Chapman Lake to discuss sexuality, identity and spirituality from Friday to Saturday.
Sophomore Gabriella DiPasquale, a straight ally, said the retreat was a “learning experience” for her.
“I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m an ally, but I’ve never been in that environment before. It was very empowering,” DiPasquale said.
Campus ministers attended a national convention for Ministry in a collegiate setting and other schools took interest in the Same Love, Same God retreat model just a week before the retreat. They asked a lot of questions and offered many prayers and well wishes.
Additionally, alumni who returned for the retreat were impressed and pleased by the groundbreaking new retreat opportunity.
According to DiPasquale, this retreat addressed a lot of topics that have a tendency to be deemed “taboo” and ignored, particularly in a Catholic setting. It involved a lot of education and discussion.
“The point was not to change anyone’s views, but to provide a community of people willing to respect and listen to one another, regardless of differences,” DiPasquale said, “We don’t all have to be experts, but we have to have our ears open to people who have different experiences.”
Same Love, Same God involved a variety of perspectives; a same-sex married couple and a heterosexual married couple, for example, each spoke about their relationships and similar struggles. Additionally, a white, male heterosexual spoke about using his inherent privileges to act as an advocate for gay rights. These talks focused on solidarity as participants in God’s creation.
“We’re all humans and we need to be loved and understood — we’re all the same,” said DiPasquale.
The retreat also highlighted spirituality and what it means to believe in God while being a member of the LGBTQA community, two concepts that DiPasquale believes seem difficult to reconcile for many people who identify with either Catholicism or the LGBTQA community. The retreat emphasized that every person, regardless of gender or orientation, is made in God’s image and receives His unconditional love. No one is excluded from a relationship with Him.
DiPasquale hopes to see Same Love, Same God continue and grow each year. She encourages everyone to disregard any social stigma and take the experience into consideration, particularly straight allies who may have felt like they did not belong on a retreat of this nature.
“Go,” DiPasquale said. “Everyone in this community is so warm and welcoming and there is no judging. We, as allies, should be brave enough to show support and not hide.”
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