Belmont University blocks gay group

What's it like to be a gay student at one of the South's most prominent Christian universities?

It's a daily challenge, according to Belmont University music business major Robbie Maris. He began a Facebook page for a gay and lesbian student support group at the private institution last year. Although the group has made repeated requests to the administration, officials have so far halted their effort to be recognized as a student organization.

"As a gay Christian, I feel a need to stand in this gap that's created at Belmont and in the church," said Maris, president of Bridge Builders, a group of Belmont students who have united to support GLBT individuals at the university. "I don't expect the university to change their faith and their values, but they should allow this group. There's a legitimate need for it."

In their mission statement, Bridge Builders says they will "strive to foster the discussion and examination of the Christian faith and LGBT-related issues, both as an intersection and a divide, through respectful means and diverse cultural, social, and faith-based perspectives. We uphold Jesus Christ as our ideal standard and model, and revere Christ’s promise: 'blessed are the peacemakers.'"

Last spring Belmont provost Dr. Marcia McDonald decided to take their proposal under review. The university eventually refused to charter Bridge Builders, and instead agreed to sponsor a dialogue group. According to their statement, an organization centered on GLBT issues was said to be potentially "divisive and problematic."

Maris, however, believes Bridge Builders could play an integral role in promoting diversity and fellowship at Belmont. So far, he's gathered over 1000 signatures in support of his cause.

"We plan on making copies of the petition and delivering them to the administration," Maris said. "There's an overwhelming amount of faculty support, but the students and faculty are left powerless to the administration."

He added, "My experience from Belmont has been very positive. By working on this petition, we got to see people's true colors. I think the majority of the campus is in favor of this. It's just a small portion is adamantly opposed to it."

An attempt to revive the controversial group was again denied this semester by university officials. Maris' main objective now is to prompt conversation about GLBT issues and foster a more welcoming atmosphere on campus.

"The Nashville community is starting to talk and realize the oppression at the university," he said. "Belmont is saying they want to be Nashville's university, but then they're not representing all of Nashville by not acknowledging us, so getting the word out now will expose Belmont for what it is, and hopefully they will reconsider their decision."

National Margarita Day

A lot of us have really picked up an interest in tequila and it's no wonder. Its popularity is soaring in the U.S. and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon. The only contender would probably be whiskey. Meh, but they have their own day. Now, it's National Margarita Day and we put together some of the best margarita recipes around so you can pick one or maybe even all of them to try.

We have a few surprises in there too. Maybe it's not all about tequila but it certainly has a theme going on. Take a look at some of these great tequila brands and start making some amazing margaritas today!

Keep reading Show less
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Gender-Inclusive Universities and Student Privacy

For many students, attending university is a profound, often life-changing, transition. It is often the student’s first time living on their own without parental supervision. This lifestyle is also accompanied by a period of self-discovery, of defining and redefining a sense of personal identity largely independent of the influence of family and friends from home.

For students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, this rite of passage can also be a deeply empowering one. Indeed, attending university may be the student’s first real opportunity to explore their gender identity in a safe, comfortable, and accepting college.

Keep reading Show less

José Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia agave fields

Disclaimer: My trip was provided courtesy of a press trip but all opinions about the trip and events are my own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I had the opportunity to visit Mexico for an event José Cuervo was putting on, the unveiling of their premium tequila brand, Reserva de la Familia. The trip was all about tequila, how to drink it properly, how to pair it with food, and of course, visiting various points of interest in Guadalajara while tasting tequila along the way.

Keep reading Show less