NY Catholic university plans second segregated 'Lavender Graduation'

St. John's University in New York will be holding a 'Lavender Graduation' to celebrate those students who identify as members of the LGBT community.

The LGTBQ+ Center, 'Spectrum,' 'OUTLaws and Allies,' and the student government 'Q-mittee' are organizing the event.

A Catholic university located in Queens, New York will be holding a “Lavender Graduation” to celebrate students who claim to be LGBT.

More specifically, St. John’s University is hosting the additional graduation ceremony for those “who identify as part of the wider LGBTQ+ community,” and this marks the second time that the institution will commemorate the event, according to the event page. 

“All graduating St. John’s seniors (undergraduates and graduate students) who identify as part of the wider LGBTQ+ community are eligible to be honored at the ceremony and to receive a lavender honor cord,” the event’s description page says.

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The school’s LGTBQ+ Center, “Spectrum,” “OUTLaws and Allies,” and the student government “Q-mittee” are organizing the event, which will take place on Thursday, May 9 at the D’Angelo Center Ballroom, the website states. 

St. John’s LGTBQ+ Center’s stated mission is to “organize, coordinate, and innovate LGBTQIA+ (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual/aromantic/agender, allies, and more) issues in the St. John’s University ecosystem to create and sustain an open and welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and employees.” 

Established in 2021, the center was implemented through the efforts of various school officials like the chief diversity officer and director of the Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion.

Spectrum, a student-run LGBT organization at St. John’s, similarly seeks to promote an “inclusive” campus “for all students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression for the purpose of upholding our University’s Catholic, Vincentian, and Metropolitan mission.”

OUTLaws and Allies is another LGBT student group connected with the university’s law school. It exists to “foster awareness of, and advocacy for, legal issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community” and “eliminate stigmas associated with the LGBTQ+ community in the legal profession,” according to its web page. The group also hosted a “drag brunch” in March.

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According to OUTLaws and Allies, St. John’s Law serves as a “community that embraces, prioritizes, and reflects the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism.”

Despite being a Catholic institution, St. John’s allows students to be called by preferred names other than their legal names and offers “gender-inclusive housing.” Students can update their gender on their St. John’s account, according to a page called “University LGBTQ+ Resources.”

Campus Reform has contacted St. John’s University, the LGBTQ+ Center, Spectrum, OUTLaws and Allies, and the school’s student government for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.