Appalled and heart-broken, this morning my best friend, Becky, informed me of this issue. She sends her sons, Nick (10) and Christian (my Godson, 8 ) to private school. Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan is the Pre-K to Grade 12 private school of Sacred Heart Parish. Its “Roman Catholic faith community” has served the Central Michigan area since 1872. Their church and school motto exemplifies their spirit of “generous stewardship”:
One Community, One Spirit, One Heart…
except if you’re gay, apparently.
Dominic Sheahan-Stahl is a former student of Sacred Heart Academy. He was recently asked to be the keynote speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony. This special opportunity was even more significant for Dominic because his youngest brother will be graduating at the ceremony.
Honored, Dominic prepared a moving speech about not letting fear prohibit you from moving forward in life. He ordered his plane tickets. He shared his excitement about speaking at his alma mater with his friends on Facebook.
He also shared his excitement of his recent engagement…to his boyfriend.
This news eventually circulated and landed in the ears of the Bishop of the Diocese.
Dominic’s invitation to be the keynote speaker at his brother’s graduation was rescinded. He was specifically told that if he hadn’t been so openly gay and shared photos of his engagement to man on Facebook, then maybe they wouldn’t have uninvited him.
Now, it comes as no surprise to me that a Catholic school associated with a Catholic church (or any church) might have strong feelings against homosexuality and the LGBT community.
However, there is something about this decision that feels insidious. Maybe because it was done so casually, like they were brushing away a smudge of dirt from their pristine sheets. They’re not the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, after all, who is known for its extreme and incendiary homophobic tactics. No–they simply said, “You can’t speak,” and expected that this little issue would go away.
Dominic has been openly gay for 14 years. This is the first time he’s felt discrimination. I stand in awe of Dominic, because instead of letting the hurt he feels “shush” him the way they hoped it would, he is using his voice to speak out.
“Right now, I’m trying to make a difference for all those who are out there struggling with their sexuality…I don’t want to fight; I want to inform.”
I’m right there with you, Dominic.
If you are, too, here are some things that you can do to help Dominic’s voice–and the voices of others–be heard:
- Sign the petition on Change.org.
- Share Dominic’s video on Facebook and Twitter.
- Share the Let Dominic Speak Facebook page.
- Share this post on Facebook and Twitter.
- Write your own post about the issue and share it. If you do, please let me know about it and I’ll help spread your words, too.
“If we can just live through love, then life can be so much of a happier place,” Dominic said.