• About
  • Careers
  • Newsletter
News GSA hosts third annual religion panel

GSA hosts third annual religion panel

-

Southern Miss’ Gay Straight Alliance hosted religious leaders from campus, Hattiesburg and nearby communities as part of their “Religious, Secular and Spiritual Paths to Enlightenment” panel Thursday.

Its mission has been to bring religious and secular leaders together to foster conversation about the intersection of LGBTQ acceptance and affirmation within various faith and non-faith communities.

The panel is now in its third year after two previously successful programs.

“There are members of our organization and friends of mine that faith is a very big part of their life and they feel excluded in other groups because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Zackari Arbogast, GSA president.

“To open up that conversation and make a safe place for them to talk about it and for others to talk about it, that’s important,” he added.

Each year the GSA has reached out to different religious and non-religious groups to fill out the panel.

“If we have [GSA] members who are also members of LGBT churches or faith groups or student ministries, we reach out to them through that,” said Jessica Piness, a GSA council member.

Included on this year’s panel were representatives from a Zen Buddhist group, Trinity Episcopalian Church, Hattiesburg Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, USM’s Secular Student Alliance and Safe Harbor Family Church in Jackson.

Each panelist shed light on how their respective denominations became inclusive to members of the LGBTQ community. They also explained what services were available to the community through their organizations.

Avery Hilbert, a senior public relations major, attended the panel for the first time and enjoyed the conversation.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” she said. “The members of the panel were very open and had no problem answering any question the audience proposed.”

She also plans to attend one of the panel member’s services.

“I never heard of the Unitarian Universalist [Fellowship] and I find it to be fascinating,” Hilbert said. “I definitely want to attend one of their services.”

Piness stressed the reality of how faith intersects with other aspects of people’s lives.

“Not all aspects of the [LGBTQ] community, but certain pockets of the community aren’t accepting of religion and they think that people’s lives are very complicated,” she said. “We can’t separate our sexual orientation or our gender identity from our faith or race or our socio-economic background.”

The GSA meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Union Room C. For more information, visit their website at USMGSA.org or Facebook.com/USMGSA.

Monicia Warner
Senior news-editorial journalism major at Southern Miss. Anglophile and lover of all things Ellie Goulding. Follow me on Twitter @missmoelove.

Latest news

Southern Miss Baseball’s historic run comes up short in Oxford Regional

Southern Miss put up a memorable fight through five games in the Oxford...

Southern Miss Baseball earns chance to host regional tournament

Last week, Southern Miss made the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee’s list of 20 potential sites to...

Robert Brent fondly remembered by students and staff

Robert Brent, a junior at the University at Southern Mississippi, unexpectedly passed away at the beginning of...

University extends condolences to families, community members after plane crash

During the overnight hours last night, The University of Southern Mississippi was notified of a tragic plane...

Saweetie and Little Mix celebrate their independence with “Confetti”

Sometimes, a breakup is more of a celebration than a sad event. Pop group Little Mix returned...

Southern Miss NFL Draft prospects look to continue careers as free agents

Though Southern Miss's two NFL Draft prospects were not selected in this year’s draft, wide receiver Tim...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you