Advocacy Group Shows Support for LGBTQ Cathedral Students

Aug 9, 2019

Shelly Fitzgerald waves to students entering Cathedral High School's campus. Fitzgerald was a guidance counselor as Roncalli High School before being put on administrative leave last year due to her same-sex marriage.
Credit Darian Benson / WFYI

A prominent group advocating for LGBTQ acceptance in the Catholic church held an early morning rally at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis Friday. Cathedral was the second Indianapolis Catholic high school to fire a teacher for marrying someone of the same gender. 

Cars pulled in for the second day of school. A majority honked or cheered. Shelly’s Voice Advocacy Group formed after the first teacher – Shelly Fitzgerald – was placed on administrative leave last year. Fitzgerald is a member and says it’s important to show LGBTQ students they belong and are loved.

“I’m out here to support the Cathedral students who are LGBT who need to know they are supported by the community and the church,” Fitzgerald says.

Cathedral graduate Maureen Kesterson-Yates says she is disappointed in the school but hopes LGBTQ students know there are people who care about them.

“I was kind of hoping they would do better,” Kesterson-Yates says. “All we can do is stand out here and support them and let them know that we’re here and that we see them, and they are important to us.”

Students were welcomed back to school Thursday by rainbow streamers decorating the campus entrance – the senior class traditionally covers the trees leading up to the school with toilet paper.

Shelly’s Voice also rallied at Roncalli High School for its first day of school. They did not gather at a third Indianapolis Catholic high school – Brebeuf Jesuit – which is currently appealing a decision from the Archdiocese revoking the school’s affiliation and preventing it from hosting a school-wide Mass.