Notre Dame Professor Defends Drag Shows
A professor at a prominent Catholic university is claiming that teaching a course on drag shows is compatible with the school’s Catholic mission and identity.
Ahead of an on-campus drag show planned for next month, University of Notre Dame professor Pamela Wojcik explained that she doesn’t see “any conflict” with the performance her department is hosting and the university’s Catholic mission and identity. “Notre Dame is an institute of higher learning engaged in intellectual inquiry,” Wojcik said, adding, “I don’t see any conflict with the university mission or culture in the course. I believe our students have the right to consider truths about all topics.” Elsewhere, Wojcik asked, “So, do you have any evidence that the Church has opinions about drag one way or the other? ‘Cause I don’t.”
Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, expressed concern that those who represent Catholic institutions like Notre Dame often fail to uphold the Church’s teachings on sexuality.
“What’s disappointing is that so few object to this vulgarity or defend the very beautiful teaching of the Catholic Church on the dignity of men and women, our complementary natures designed by God for his glory and our good,” she told The Washington Stand. “As the ‘nones’ increase, blame is often laid at the feet of the ‘extreme and divisive’ ‘religious right.’ Institutional rot from the Left is a much more serious problem, leading to error and confusion because of scandalous courses like this one at Notre Dame on ‘drag.’ And the ‘intellectuals’ who are too smart for biblical standards regarding sexuality and family life seem to never consider their own complicity in the mass exodus from the Western church.”
Wojcik is offering a course this semester entitled “What a Drag: Drag on Screen — Variations and Meanings,” which will include a drag show “symposium” hosted on-campus on November 3. The symposium will focus on “dangerous” “efforts to ban drag,” according to Wojcik’s comments to conservative Catholic student newspaper The Irish Rover. She explained, “Drag won’t turn kids gay.” Wojcik also expects students at the traditionally Catholic university to protest the event, noting, “There will be police and security for the foreseen protests.”
As reported by another Notre Dame student newspaper, The Observer, the university canceled a drag queen’s performance slated for the Mendoza College of Business MBA students’ Diversity and Heritage Ball back in March. At the time, the university released a statement explaining, “Any programming sponsored by a student club must align with the group’s mission. That was not the case in this instance.”
The Catholic Church has a longstanding history of opposition to homosexuality and transgenderism, maintaining that each is an assault on the necessary and divinely-instituted differences between male and female, which are designed by God to be complementary, not interchangeable. Even recently, Pope Francis has declared the phenomena of “gender ideology,” which endorses transgenderism and drag, to be “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.” He explained, “Why is it dangerous? Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women.”
Despite Notre Dame’s Catholic composition (nearly 75% of students identify as Catholic) and deeply Catholic foundation and mission, Wojcik’s drag course and “symposium” aren’t the first time the school has caused controversy for endorsing leftism on campus. In 2009, for example, university leadership drew harsh criticism from students, alumni, and prominent American Catholics for inviting pro-abortion President Barack Obama to deliver that year’s commencement address, with about 60% of Catholics nationwide agreeing that Notre Dame should rescind the invitation. In fact, during his speech, Obama was interrupted by audience members shouting, “Abortion is murder!”
Several Notre Dame professors have also promoted abortion, despite the university’s Catholic identity. Last year, ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade, professors Tamara Kay, Susan Ostermann, and Tricia Bruce penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times defending abortion as “life-saving” “healthcare.” Kay and Ostermann later teamed up to write another piece arguing that abortion doesn’t “kill babies” and taking issue with the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion. Kay has written elsewhere of abortion drugs as “lifesaving” and has delivered speeches on campus praising abortion. Earlier this year, she sued students writing for The Irish Rover after they published, as the student newspaper put it, “accurate stories about her very public abortion advocacy.”
Wojcik’s drag show is co-sponsored by the Film, Television, and Theatre Department, the Gender Studies Department, the Department of American Studies, the Music Department, and the Initiative on Race and Resilience. The Washington Stand contacted Wojcik to request comment but was informed that, as of time of publication, she is out of office.
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.