HELENA, Mont. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic college in Montana is inviting in three drag queens for a college-wide panel discussion on drag queen culture.
Carroll College, one of two Montana Catholic colleges, has bowed to pressure from the so-called "LGBTQ+ community" to schedule an educational night dedicated to drag queen culture. On Thursday, Sept. 24, from 7–9 p.m., the college will present "All Gender is Performance: Exploring Drag Culture and Campus Controversy." This is occurring despite protests from faithful Catholics who attend the college.
A Carroll student notified Church Militant this week that all students recently received an email from the college introducing the event, which included this:
You are invited to attend to learn about drag culture in history and today from multiple academic and personal perspectives. This event will feature professors Fregulia, Angel, Thomas and Pavlakis; recent graduate Madison Fernandez; and three drag artists. After the panelists speak, there will be short demos by a drag queen and a drag king followed by a Q&A session.
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, explained to Church Militant that a drag queen show was attempted last year at the college, but was canceled due to pushback from faithful students and the college community. After that, the so-called LGBTQ+ community on campus complained that their values were not being respected by the college.
The college's website explained the controversy this way:
Inspired by the recent controversy about the censoring and cancellation of a drag show on campus, this panel will explore the history and current cultural role of drag in society at large and among the LGBTQ+ community, as well as its relationship to recent drag show controversy at Carroll College.
The same page stated the sponsors of this event include the "Gender Studies Program (GSP)," the "Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA)," and a group called "Feminists Advocating Equality (FAE)." The very existence of these groups on campus has faithful Catholics scratching their heads.
Associate Professor of History at Carroll College, Dr. Jeanette Fregulia, told Church Militant that the event on Thursday is quite different than the one scheduled and canceled last year. Thursday will be a panel discussion exploring the history of drag, she said, and that there will be no performances. When asked why no so-called drag queens will be performing, she indicated it was the compromise made between the Catholic college and those sponsoring the event — one that she personally did not agree with.
A student informer to Church Militant filled in some other blanks.
"The show only got canceled last year after Catholic students emailed the president out of frustration," the source explained. "This, however, only halted it and it is back again." He said that on Feb. 18 "the LGBTQ community held a protest on campus where 50 students and staff showed up in solidarity."
"They spoke about how we as Catholics are inconveniencing them and not accepting of their values and beliefs, which is not true at all," he said. GSA joined FAE to hold the rally.
Madison Fernandez, a co-president of FAE, said the "fun drag show event" was meant to show solidarity with the college's so-called LGBTQ community. But after administration gave them certain restrictions that had to be met, they canceled it.
Fernandez decided to cancel the drag queen show because its backers "could not preserve the integrity of the event."
Students have been meeting with Carroll President John Cech in trying to work out a compromise that would be acceptable to the college. Chato Hazelbaker, vice president of enrollment management and marketing, said the meetings are to "continue the dialogue to ensure we are fostering an inclusive environment."
Carroll College of Helena, Montana was founded in 1909. The first bishop of Helena, John Baptist Brondel, proposed a Catholic college in Montana to help produce future priests. Today the college is affiliated with the diocese of Helena.