“To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood” – Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Originally Published October 11th, 2023.

Official posters recently confirmed the Irish Rover’s September 13 report that several university departments will host a drag show on campus this November. Allowing this event to proceed would constitute implicit acceptance of drag’s sexualized, grotesque, and provocative conception of the human person by the university and its administration.

The November 3 event, open to all Notre Dame students and faculty, will feature performers “Blair St. Clair,” “London BaCall,” and “Cordelia.” 

The first, whose given name is Andrew Allen Bryson, was previously a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race and appeared on RuPaul All Stars. Bryson has consistently tweeted photos in which he is almost completely nude, and he frequently links his OnlyFans, which is a popular subscription-based media platform primarily used to promote self-made pornography.

In a recent instagram post, the second performer, London BaCall, explained his acceptance of his sexuality: “The most freeing day of my life is when I realized that not only was I going to embrace being a f-[expletive], a fairy, and a sissy, but I was going to be the most fabulous version of that I could possibly be. I’m proud to be feminine.”

In a 2011 Drag Show at James Madison University, “BaCall” shared an on-stage kiss with a co-star, telling the audience “She’s a queen and I’m a queen so get into it.” 

In supporting lies about the human person—lies that say men can be women and that a minstrel show of femininity is a legitimate art form—the university is not only actively working against her mission, but permitting irreparable damage to its community and image. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “By creating the human being man and woman, God gives personal dignity equally to the one and the other. Each of them, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.” 

There is nothing confusing about the Church’s stance on issues of sexuality. The Catechism additionally describes that “Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. … For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.” 

Drag shows, even when not performed for children, dishonor and violate this natural order. They skew the line between genders and celebrate the chaos and confusion of gender dysphoria under the guise of “self-expression.” Fundamentally, a drag show mocks all that it means to be a woman by painting a hyper-sexualized picture and making her an object of derision.

Such a performance is particularly egregious at a university dedicated to the exemplar of all women. Under the eyes of Our Lady atop the dome, this performance threatens to fundamentally insult the core of what it means to be a woman.

Despite the fact that withdrawing university funds from “controversial” events is not unprecedented, the administration has not indicated any intention of preventing the upcoming drag show from occurring on campus. 

Last year, the university forbade Notre Dame Right to Life from purchasing tickets for Right to Life Michiana’s banquet with club funds, and did not make their annual contribution to the group, all because the speaker was Ben Shapiro. The Notre Dame Office of Mission Engagement and Church Affairs told members of the club, “This event is problematic. This speaker is problematic.” They then cited a 2010 tweet by Ben Shapiro as a reason for the university’s hesitation to associate with his speaking engagement at the benefit. Was anything that Shapiro said worse than the OnlyFans promotion of “Blair St Clair”? 

Time after time, university administration and departmental bureaucrats demonstrate an unwillingness to defy secular narratives in favor of upholding any semblance of truth. Even if there were some academic benefit for departments to host men dressed as women to dance on stage—which there is not—there is no room for such a demonstration at a university that claims affiliation with the Catholic Church. 

This performance is not hosted by a fringe part of the university. In addition to being marked with the official Notre Dame logo, posters for the production confirm the Rover’s September report that it is cosponsored by the Department of Music, the Department of American Studies, the Initiative on Race and Resilience, and the Gender Studies Program. It is also formally supported by the College of Arts and Letters through the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts Henkels Award—an official funding wing of the college established to bring in top scholars and performers who will have “a lasting effect beyond a series of lectures or performances.” 

Controversial events that advocate for the mass murder of innocent children or celebrations of anti-Catholic transgender ideology cannot be dismissed as private events hosted by a few “crazy” individuals under the protection of academic freedom. Such arguments normalize disordered ideologies and relativize the coherent visions of truth, education, and the human person that the Catholic Church holds. They also fail to acknowledge that any association with such events dismembers the university’s internal vision of a Catholic education and community that attracts so many faculty and students to South Bend, Indiana each year.

As yet, university administration has not indicated any intention of preventing the upcoming drag show from occurring on campus. The Rover reached out to the president’s office several times before publishing its reporting piece on the drag show, and received no response.There is no reason to believe that the university will prevent this corrupting attack on femininity and the truth about the human person. Students, faculty, and staff who care about preserving Notre Dame as an authentically Catholic institution must make their voices heard on the matter.

Nico Schmitz is a senior in the Program of Liberal Studies from Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at nschmit2@nd.edu

Photo Credit: The Irish Rover

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