Queer at Patrick Henry College (also known as QueerPHC or QPHC) is a community of LGBTQ and allied students and alumni of Patrick Henry College, a small private Christian fundamentalist college in Northern Virginia. We exist to provide encouragement and a sense of solidarity to those LGBTQ students and alumni in the Patrick Henry College community.
The QueerPHC blog is a collaborative project produced by a number of current and former students of Patrick Henry College. We have varying opinions and beliefs about everything from religion and spirituality to whether coffee or tea (or beer!) is the best beverage invented by humans. However, one thing we share in common is our desire to help and encourage other PHCers in any way we can.
We are not officially affiliated with Patrick Henry College, and Patrick Henry College does not endorse QueerPHC. Patrick Henry College also maintains a requirement of non-advocacy for enrolled students in regards to LGBTQ issues. Since those issues are near and dear to many of us, we created this blog as a means for us to express our opinions and thoughts on LGBTQ-related topics.
This blog has already seen its share of controversy in its short lifetime. After we created QueerPHC, school chancellor Michael Farris threatened to sue us for copyright infringement. After some media attention and a call from an attorney acting on our behalf, he withdrew his threat. A few weeks later, President Graham Walker alluded to a possible LGBTQ conspiracy targeting Christian college and university campuses.
When we started QueerPHC in the summer of 2012, we were all anonymous contributors to this community, some for personal reasons, some for family/friend reasons, some for professional reasons, and some for a combination of the above. While many of us still need to preserve our anonymity at this point in time, we are happy to say that several of us have been able to partially or fully come out of the closet in the last few years.
Our vision for this blog is to tell our own personal stories of what it’s like to be queer at Patrick Henry College, and also to give queer PHC students an opportunity to respond to significant events at the college, in the United States, and around the world.
Patrick Henry College does not offer courses in Queer Studies, Sex Ed, or Gender Equality. However, these are issues that are of pressing importance in our culture today and are of importance to each of us personally. We want to make this blog a resource for students, a place to learn about LGBTQ issues and to get more information about where to reach out for support and guidance. We hope this space will be a refreshing environment for those struggling with accepting themselves.
We also think it’s important to mention briefly what this blog is not intended to be. Queer PHC was not created as a forum for discussion or argument about whether or not queer people ought to be accepted by Christians, or whether gay marriage should be celebrated. We certainly do hope that our blog sparks discussion among others, as we are supporters of open discussion, especially about this topic. And of course, we also hope that some of our readers come to agree with us. However, we did not create the blog for those who might be looking for a debate. We created it to give a voice to a group of PHC students that have long been silenced. We created it so that other PHC students would not have to feel alone or hopeless like we sometimes did while we were students.
Every QueerPHC blogger has attended PHC, and we know the isolation, shame, and fear often associated with being LGBTQ in the PHC environment. The prevailing voice towards queer persons in the PHC community is one of condemnation. But we don’t think anyone should have to be ashamed of who they are or who they love. We don’t think anyone should be forced to choose between their faith and their sexual orientation or gender identity.
We saw the artificial boundary lines that had been set, and we decided to camp out here in the middle and chat with those who walked by. We’re building a community with other wanderers. We all have a story to tell, and we’re only just learning how to tell it.
We welcome all new readers. We moderate our comments, so please keep your comments civil. And if you have a guest post idea that is both relevant and affirming to LGBTQ students and alumni of Patrick Henry College, send it our way at email@example.com. We grant complete anonymity to our contributors (unless you wish to have your real name used.)
We hope you’ll stay for awhile!