Treated Like An Intellectual Virus

The way in which Catholic Providence College first invited, then dis-invited, now re-invited the scholar John Corvino has been an almost gratuitous piece of gracelessness. You can read his account here of the various d0wnright discourteous snubs of him, and the transformation of what was first a lecture followed by questions and answers, into a talk with a respondent and now into a full-scale debate. The Provost apologizes to everyone for the kerfuffle, apart from the gay man, who is handled with what appear to be tongs of disdain. John writes:

Yesterday a friend asked me how I was doing, and I responded that the media attention was exhausting. “Yes,” he pressed, “But how are you doing? You were uninvited to speak. That seems hurtful, even if not intentionally personal.”

The truth is that it’s difficult not to feel as if the Providence College administration regards me as a sort of virus, which might infect students if not blocked by some administration-approved surgical mask. This feeling is sadly familiar, to me and to any gay person. It is the malaise of the closet, the notion that some features of oneself are unspeakable. I am the Other. And if I feel that way, I can only imagine how young gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender Providence College students must feel. It is for them that I remain most concerned.

And it is for them that he should seize this opportunity and give the argument of his lifetime.