Georgetown to host second Ignatian Q conference

From Friday March 27 to Sunday March 29, Georgetown will host Ignation Q, a conference that aims to discuss and explore the intersections of religious and queer identities.

This is only the second year of the conference. Last spring it was held at Fordham University; Georgetown won the bid to host it for 2015.

Members of the Georgetown LGBTQ community, along with a committee led by Brian Council (MSB ’16), Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15), Meghan Ferguson (COL ’15), and Nicholas Werner (MSB ’17), have put in a lot of hard work to make this event possible.

In an interview with Vox, Werner said, “My goal for the conference is two-fold. Firstly, I’d like to see the compatibility between holding religious beliefs while also holding an LGBTQ identity discussed and reconciled, which for many of us in the community is a real internal struggle. Second, I want other schools to see the Georgetown model of successful LGBTQ support.”

Werner believes that having this conference on campus is extremely valuable not only for the LGBTQ community, but also for the larger student body. “The intersection of these identities in the eyes of onlookers aren’t always entirely clear, and by providing space for it on campus, I believe the whole community benefits by seeing the legitimate and earnest nature of the topic,” he said.

The event has grown from last year as more than 160 people, mostly non-Georgetown students, have signed up for the conference.

Breakout sessions held on Saturday and Sunday will aim to educate and expand upon the different facets of individual identity. Additionally, there will also be several panels including an Alumni Panel and an Interfaith Panel as well as three keynote speakers: President of Communities in Schools Daniel Cardinali, well-known advocate on the role of women in the church Elizabeth Donnelly, and Georgetown’s Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Father Kevin O’Brien.

Werner believes that the gathering of students from many universities will make the conference meaningful and powerful. “I think it will be great for us to interact with other Jesuit universities and learn about our own different backgrounds and how everyone has handled their own respective challenges. I think it will help us be mindful of the differences between our campus and others, and be thankful for environment we have here,” he told Vox in the interview.

He, as well as the larger LGBTQ community, hopes that this conference challenges people to think about their identities and broaden their perspectives.

“We’ve started focusing on how to motivate our attendees to engage their respective administrations and go beyond their current situations,” Werner said. “Our theme for the conference this year is ‘Forming Contemplative Communities to Ignite Action,’ and we really want our attendees to go back home and ‘set the world on fire’.”

Photo: Ignation Q via Facebook

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