EarlyÂ Tuesday morning, an online magazine called “Voiceless” went live, discussing issues of same sex attraction at ACU.
The 77-page magazine was created to express the views of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender andÂ Questioning (LGBTQ) community present at ACU. The magazine’s tagline is, “End the silence. End the shouting. Listen to the voiceless, and let your voice be heard.”
All contributors of the first magazine are students or recent alumni of ACU, but it is not officially endorsed or sponsored by ACU in any way said the editor of “Voiceless,” who goes by the pseudonym of Stewart Headlam.
“Voiceless is more about dialoguing and listening to each other than it is about changing people’s minds,” Headlam said. “We want it to be a safe place where anyone can express what they believe about homosexuality.”
Headlam said the content of the magazine is diverse. Some contributing writers believe God made them to be gay, some are questioning it and one felt led to marry his wife despite his attraction to other guys.
“I thought the best way to bring the topic of faith and sexuality to ACU was to get some students and alumni to share stories of their experiences at ACU, and that’s what the second half of the zine does,” Headlam said.Â “The first half is written by me and it’s what I call the four prevailing voices on homosexuality in the church.”
This edition focuses more on those who are actually experiencing the same sex attraction, Headlam said.
Headlam is considering publishing another edition next semester and is looking to have a bigger variety of voices entering the conversation. Among those, he would like to have the voices of parents of the students and more straight voices.
There is a blog attached to the site that will be updated weekly with stories of more ACU students. The website also features a list of publications at other ChristianÂ colleges and universities with similar missions.
“Voiceless” is one among many online forums that facilitate discussion about the LGBTQ community at colleges.
Students at Harding University published a website called the “HU Queer Press” last month. Â It ended up receiving a lot of attention on campus and was blocked by the university firewall within 24 hours of going live.
“I saw the release at Harding, and it’s actually what inspired me to do this,” Headlam said. “I had several friends who I knew were gay and I just realized I was in a unique position to do something like this for ACU.”
Michael “Fish” Van Huis, senior Christian ministry major from Chattanooga, Tenn., organized a student led group not affiliated with the University called the Beyond Agreement to Love Movement (BALM) that opens up the discussion of homosexuality and related sexuality and gender topics to any students who are interested in attending the weekly meetings.
“The biggest need I saw was that churches weren’t talking about this topic openly,” Van Huis said. “But in our culture, media, politics and even in “Glee,” everyone’s talking about it. Even at this school, we’re talking about it in bits and pieces in various classrooms, but there are still people here who are not informed about the language we use and who have no idea what they’re saying.”
Van Huis said the group’s purpose is to elevate theÂ conversation on all perspectives, whether conservative or liberal. The goal is to mediate the conversation aboutÂ sexual orientation and gender identityÂ and to show love to others.
“This group is a good place where you can be in the middle, have good relationships and reconcile with each other by saying, Â ”Though I may not agree with your theology, I’m still going to try and learn and walk life with you,” Van Huis said.
Van Huis said the group focuses on the idea of reconciliation and works to open up the opportunity for students to tell their experiences, good and bad, regarding LGBTQ issues at ACU.
“I hope there’s a greater awareness of how we speak ofÂ our LGBTQ brothers and sistersÂ and that there’s a better understanding of how we have conversations with people who are different than us,” Van Huis said. “I hope that we can respect each other’s humanity and above all else love our neighbor as ourselves.”