Religion and queer identity collide

Senior Arrupe Leader Gabby Lisi launched the Instagram campaign Queer Faith XU in hopes of promoting awareness and community for queer folk on campus who are also people of faith on March 18.

As an Arrupe Leader, Lisi has met with other notably involved senior student leaders to reflect on their leadership and what they want their legacy to be at Xavier.

 Lisi was inspired to start Queer Faith XU as her capstone legacy project during one of the Arrupe Leader meetings. “We were asked things like, ‘what would you have liked to see during your time at Xavier?’ And ‘what was missing from your experience?” she explained.

Lisi elaborated that when she arrived at Xavier she was afraid to enter the Center for Faith and Justice (CFJ) because she didn’t know how they responded to the queer community and wondered if she would be accepted or embraced there.

After gaining courage and walking in the door, she now considers the CFJ one of her homes on campus.

Lisi determined she wanted to see representation and community for queer folk on campus, and she chose to use social media.

The Instagram campaign can be found @queerfaithxu and was originally a week-long initiative featuring five posts a day, spread throughout the duration of each day.

Each post features a testimony of a Xavier student or staff who identifies as queer or is an ally and talks about their experience with faith.

About half of the individuals chose to remain anonymous in their testimony and the other participants chose to identify themselves.

Sophomore Annie Tobler was invited to participate by Lisi and sees the campaign as a way to start important discussions on campus about people who identify as queer.

“Having that conversation happen at Xavier is important because people don’t realize there are a lot of queer people on campus and sometimes we don’t feel the most accepted,” Tobler said.

Something important to Junior Hannah Frey, who also contributed, was that it could connect people who do not have supportive friends to find a safe space to discuss their sexuality.

“Creating a space where people can talk about that… that was a big significance.. to create a new place to talk about it in a space that is accepting,” Frey said. 

Lisi had no prior experience with launching media campaigns, and the support and response to the page blew her away.

The page currently has more than 450 followers including current students, staff, alumni and student organizations. Each post has 100-200 likes.

“Seeing the outpour(ing) of love and support for this community through the amount of followers, likes, comments and people coming up to me and those who gave testimonies throughout the day was amazing,” Lisi said.

When the campaign was supposed to end, people were still contacting Lisi to ask if they could share their story on the account.

Lisi was ecstatic to continue the campaign, posting additional testimonies. The campaign will continue for as long as people keep reaching out, according to Lisi.

Lisi sees her project as a success. Beyond attributing the positive response to the campaign to word of mouth and social media, Lisi credits people’s willingness to listen. 

By: Emilie Kracik | Staff Writer