A movement in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students on Westmont College’s campus is picking up steam after dozens of alumni cosigned a letter that was submitted to the college last week. The letter was prompted by a letter to the editor that was published in the school paper last year. It was written by someone who didn’t go to Westmont, but was in support of Westmont LGBT students living on the school’s campus.
That letter, according to those who signed the recent letter to school administrators, “resonated for those of us who, as Westmont students, experienced doubt, loneliness, and fear,” according to the statement. The group took issue with Westmont’s Community Life Statement, which condemns “practices that Scripture forbids,” such as homosexual practices. But the statement deals not with orientation, but with behavior, explained Westmont’s vice president for student life, Jane Higa.
Organizers said the point of the letter, signed by alumni who graduated as far back as 1981, was meant to be the beginning of a discussion among students, faculty, and administration on the topic of LGBT issues. “We’re coming at this to encourage the community to have a dialogue,” said Jennifer Lorden, one of the organizers and a 2007 graduate of the school. “The real strength of Westmont College is to be both challenged and supported.”
And it seems to have worked. Higa said she welcomed the dialogue and looked forward to the conversations that will follow. She said the college is already planning some events for the coming months where such talks can take place.