On Saturday evening, still filled with joy and satisfaction from our participation in this year’s PrideFest celebration, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel. I’m happy that they decided to print my letter.
Hopefully, alumni and other folks connected to Carson-Newman will read about us and join us in being a voice of change. I’m also hopeful that readers will come to understand the issues and pitfalls that young LGBT individuals face.
If you are not a subscriber to the Knoxville News Sentinel, then you are not able to read the letter, so I will post it here:
This was our first year participating in the 2014 Knoxville PrideFest Celebration. Our group, the LGBTQ&A Alumni of Carson-Newman consists of more than 140 LGBTQ&A (“A” stands for heterosexual allies) alumni, students and professors of Carson-Newman University who are dedicated to making higher education at a conservative, Baptist university easier and more affirming for LGBT students.
We recognize that LGBT youths are at great risk for isolation, depression, anxiety, self-harm, bullying, substance abuse, poor school performance, family alienation, etc. Our goal is to help them avoid these pitfalls.
We also believe that Christianity and homosexuality are not mutually exclusive notions. We are comfortable in our belief that God created us all, including LGBT individuals, and that he has great love and purpose for us.
We would like to thank the many people who visited our booth during the festival at World’s Fair Park. It gave us the opportunity to let them know that over the past five years we have given out two scholarships (we’re building funds for a third), provided emotional support for current LGBT students and are making plans this fall to offer an off-campus social-support group to Carson-Newman’s LGBT students.
We would also like to give a huge thanks to the board and organizers of this year’s PrideFest. Their tremendous work made our participation seamless and enjoyable.
Those who are interested in knowing more about our group can find us on Facebook at LGBT Alumni of Carson-Newman or on twitter @lgbtalumniofcn.
(The LGBTQ&A Alumni of Carson-Newman is not officially associated with or recognized by Carson-Newman University.)
Tom Cogburn, Chair and Founder
LGBTQ&A Alumni of Carson-Newman