Student group’s push for name change raises questions around LGBTQ visibility at Duquesne

Duquesne University students say setbacks in making an LGBTQ group’s name recognizable reflect contention over language and representation on a Catholic campus.

Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil.

In May 2023, the student leaders of Lambda — an LGBTQ affinity group at Duquesne University — asked school administrators to change their organization’s name to something more recognizable: the Queer Student Union.

Today, the fate of that name change is uncertain. Catholic universities like Duquesne find themselves at a crossroad, with support for LGBTQ rights growing nationally but the Catholic Church and some of its U.S. membership still officially opposed to gay marriage and the full inclusion of transgender parishioners.

While some university administrators expressed support for the name change, Lambda President Nialah Miller said others disapproved of the word “queer” appearing in the group’s title. Still, “we’ve been trying to push it,” they said.

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QBurgh Editor’s Note: The Greek letter lambda (λ) is an officially recognized symbol of LGBTQ Pride devised by Tome Doerr of the Gay Activists Alliance in 1970. Many organizations, including Pittsburgh-based organizations, have used the Lambda moniker.