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On Thursday, talk about “the shirt” likely referred not to the popular kelly green number worn by students and fans during Notre Dame football games, but to a project sponsored by the unofficial Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), also known as “United in Diversity,” to promote increased tolerance of homosexual students on campus.
Hundreds of students sported the bright orange shirts bearing the slogan “Gay? Fine by me,” and GSA estimates that it sold 1,600 of them in the past few days.
“This is a milestone event because it lets the supporters show who they are and lets everyone else – gay and straight, in or out – see who they are and how many they are,” GSA leader Joe Dickmann said.
Dickmann started the campaign in response to a survey conducted by the Princeton Review that ranked Notre Dame first in a list of 351 colleges and universities where alternative lifestyles are not an alternative. It also served to bring attention to the Office of Student Affairs March 4 decision to deny the GSA officially recognized club status.
Students who chose to wear the “Gay? Fine by me” shirts expressed hope that their efforts would bring about positive exchange.
“There’s a pretty common stereotype that Notre Dame is a closed minded … school,” said Margaret Bernardin, a sophomore who wore the shirt Thursday. “Obviously, by all the people you see today that isn’t true at all.”
United in Diversity? It is hard to parody something like that.