Capital University was proudly purple as students, faculty and staff representing the Bexley campus, Law School and Trinity Lutheran Seminary marched in the 2019 Columbus Pride Parade.
Among its enthusiastic participants were more than 50 marchers wearing purple shirts that proudly proclaimed Capital University as “A place where everyone belongs.” It was an affirmation of unity and love for the greater LGBTQ+ community, as well as an outward display of the University’s full support of diversity and inclusion.
Pride week in Columbus has seen growth every year since its debut in 1981. Last year, an estimated 13,000 parade marchers and 850,000 attendees lined the streets of downtown Columbus in support of Central Ohio’s vibrant LGBTQ community.
Capital’s commitment to Pride started six years ago, when four members of the Law School’s faculty and staff decided to step off with the parade as a way of showing prospective law students that the school was a safe and accepting environment. Despite being almost completely rained out, their initial action was heard loud and clear.
Last year, led by the University’s mascot and president, Capital marched with students, alumni, faculty and staff representing the Law School, Trinity Lutheran Seminary and the Bexley campus. United as one voice, they demonstrated their support, love and acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community both within and beyond the Capital Family.
Kriss Buss, a Master of Divinity student says, “As the Seminary is reconciled in Christ’s community, (it) means that we look at ourselves and identify with welcoming, affirming and teaching from the perspective of the LGBQT community as a core value.”
The investment that Capital makes by participating in the Columbus Pride Festival goes a long way with its faculty and staff.
“For me, as an employee and an alum of the Law School, it’s great to have my employer and my alma mater be a part of it and to really support full diversity and inclusion,” says Shawn Beem (’02), assistant dean for Professional Development.
The impact goes further by setting an example to students. First-year student Kokila Varadarajan says, “By calling our students ‘Cap Fam,’ that in itself shows that we want students to be who they want to be. They are free to express themselves, and by participating in the Pride Festival, Capital has demonstrated a commitment to that.”
While other Christian denominations are struggling with how – or whether – to accept the LGBTQ community into their folds, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has repeatedly spoken against discrimination in law or policy related to sexual orientation or gender identity.
“As an institution grounded in contemporary Lutheran values, we celebrate the sacred worth in every member of the community,” says Capital University Pastor Drew Tucker. “Participating in the Stonewall Columbus parade highlights our belief that God delights in people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and desires their full inclusion in church and society.”