SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Last year, the Princeton Review's annual survey of American colleges ranked the University of Notre Dame the most unfriendly to homosexuals. This week, the school's library is the site of the first ND Queer Film Festival.
"You have to understand what a breakthrough this is," said Richard Friedman, a fifth-year student participating in the event. "The university's administration had even barred gay groups from advertising in the student newspaper."
On many campuses, eyebrows wouldn't be raised by a gay film series.
That is not the case at universities affiliated with a religious denomination that considers homosexuality sinful.
Yet even at some such schools, things are changing quickly, given society's increasing acceptance of alternative lifestyles.
"This film fest is our way of forcing people to recognize there is an active gay community here," said Liam Dacey, a Notre Dame senior. "There's been a fear on this campus to come out."
Films in the series include "The Opposite of Sex," a gay-straight-gay love triangle, and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," the story of a transgender rock star.