The chair of Catholic studies and associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Michelle Loris said, “Not every Catholic university would hold an event aimed at celebrating and affirming the LGBTQ community. But our University is distinct and unique. It stands for inclusivity and embraces all people with love. It stands against any form of hatred or prejudice, no matter the source.”
SHU’s Protestant chaplain and senior minister at the United Congregational Church of Bridgeport, Sara Smith, supported the university’s actions, saying, “As an out lesbian clergy, I am very proud of the statement SHU is making. Dr. P, it could very well save lives.”
“I want the LGBTQ students to hear it from me—I know the hearts of these people who have spoken, and they are sincere. They are the beginning of safe zones and allies that will be created here on campus for all of you.” Smith called on participants in the event to join her in proclaiming to the LGBTQ+ community, “You are created and loved by God—as you are,” the statement said.
Sacred Heart has numerous resources for LGBT students. Its counseling page for LGBT resources reads: “Here at the Sacred Heart University Counseling Center, we embrace a positive view of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) identities and relationships by producing a safe space where people are free to express who they are without fear of reprisal.”
Among the off-campus resources to which LGBT students are referred is the Circle Care Center in Norwalk. Conn., a primary care practice. Their services include hormone replacement therapy, referrals to surgeons for gender transition surgery, which they call “gender confirmation surgery.”
CNA asked the university multiple questions about their actions and stance on Church teaching in relation to LGBT issues, particularly on SHU referring students to organizations that offer services in hormone replacement therapy and gender transition surgery.