Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 2, 2021

Santorum has made a career out of his hateful ideas, especially toward the LGBT community. As a (former) Senator, he has been privileged to put his thought into policy on a national level, and the anti-LGBT policies of Santorum and his fellows have been measurably destructive for the lives of LGBT Americans.

It can be deceptively easy to rationalize giving a platform to someone like Santorum. Under the guise — or with the earnest intention — of inclusion, of promoting a diversity of opinion, people like Santorum receive a podium and a speaker’s fee at institutions that should know better. As a university, Johns Hopkins is not the most welcoming place for people of sexual and gender minorities. The LGBT community at Hopkins is, broadly speaking, small, scattered and invisible. For LGBT members of the Johns Hopkins community to hear that their peers have decided to welcome someone like Santorum — whose homophobia is no secret, whose bigotry does real harm — this is sad news.

Welcoming Santorum to share his ideas at Hopkins, even if the impulse is borne out of a perverse pleasure in listening to this antiquated bigot try to defend himself, sends a strong message to members of the LGBT community. It says that our struggles are not pertinent, that they are less important than figuring out what makes this bigot tick.

We belong to an intellectual community that does not make an active effort to foster its LGBT voices, and Santorum’s presence at Hopkins, even as a last-minute alternate speaker, even with a touch of irony, is a wonderful reminder.

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