Matt C. Abbott
Catholic attorney to USD: cancel drag show
By Matt C. Abbott
April 7, 2012

I first want to wish all my readers — yes, even those who might hate my guts — a blessed Easter! I will keep you in my prayers; please keep me in yours. I'm also happy to report that Father John Trigilio is recovering from his automobile accident; click here to read his latest blog post.

Sheila Parkhill, Tom Brejcha, Peter Breen, Dan Cheely, Richard Caro, James Bendell, Christopher Ferrara, Sharon Bourassa. These are some of the Catholic attorneys who've been fighting the good fight for quite some time.

Add to that list Charles S. LiMandri, who writes:
    Dear Fellow Catholics and Our Christian Allies —

    As many of you already know, the University of San Diego, a Catholic institution, is scheduled to have its first drag show on Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Some of you who received my last email about this important issue have asked to be kept informed of the status of the matter. Despite widespread opposition from USD alumni and the Catholic community, Mary Lyons, the president of USD, has thus far refused to cancel this depraved event. We have created a website concerning this matter so that you can learn more about why we are opposed to this unfortunate course of action. The website address is

    The website contains information on Catholic teaching and sets forth the administration's misguided position as well as our response. It also contains links to news articles about the event and disturbing video links to prior 'educational' drag shows at other 'Catholic' universities. Finally, it provides the opportunity for you to take action one last time to lodge your objection to the drag show at USD. Please visit the website now and let your voice be heard in defense of our faith. We would appreciate your passing this message on to others who share our Christian values. In the meantime, thank you for your prayerful support and may God Bless the entire USD community.

    Chuck LiMandri
    USD Class of 1977
In a previous email to key alumni of USD, Mr. LiMandri wrote:
    Dear Fellow USD Alumni:

    I am writing to bring to your attention a dire concern that I have about our alma mater. On April 11, 2012, USD is planning to have its 'First Drag Show' in the University Center. The published description about this so-called 'monumental event' is as follows:

      PRIDE is hosting USD's first ever drag show. Watch and cheer on students as they compete against each other in pageant-style to be USD's first Supreme Drag Superstar. There will be a lip-sync competition, runway competition, and of course a Q & A session. Local San Diego drag queen Tootie Nefertootie will be MC-ing with a special guest performer.

    If you want to know who 'Tootie Nefertootie' is, you can learn more by visiting his/her website at [redacted], but please be advised that some may find the content offensive.

    USD has already had multiple speakers and workshops on transgender issues, and more scheduled in the future, most recently during this Holy Week on April 4, 2012. The adviser for PRIDE, the openly lesbian USD Religious Studies professor Evelyn Kirkley, has stated that these prior speakers and workshops 'did not reach a large number of people.' In her position paper on 'Why have a drag show at USD?' she further states:

      Because a drag show is entertaining, it can reach a wider audience of students who might not ordinarily attend a speaker or workshop... It enables students to become more educated and aware of the fluidity of gender identity and expression... Transgressing gender norms, such as cross-dressing, can trigger cultural anxieties, but can also be seen as entirely 'normal.'

    Of course, Professor Kirkley's five page single-spaced justification for having a drag show at USD does not mention that Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is considered to be a form of mental illness and the Bible expressly condemns cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5).

    I am seeking your support in protesting this event to protect potentially vulnerable students, and because I have a son who is a freshman at USD, and a daughter who is considering attending USD next year upon graduating from Cathedral Catholic High School. I met my wife Barbara on the USD Alumni Board and we now have five children all in Catholic schools. Moreover, as a former President of the USD National Alumni Association, and a past recipient of the Mother Rosalie Hill Award for 'extraordinary service' to the university, I care deeply about our alma mater.

    I donated the larger than life sized bronze bust of Saint Thomas More, which is located in the rotunda of the USD Law School, because I also care about the values that USD is teaching its students. When I graduated from USD as the Associated Students President, and the Outstanding Senior Man in 1977, USD still prided itself as a 'value-oriented university.' The values that it reflected were those of its founders and were consistent with the time-honored teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. That was USD's strength then, and I believe that those values are needed now, more than ever, in these turbulent times.

    I was on the USD Alumni Board between 1985 and 1995 when we helped usher in the diversity and multi-cultural programs. We were happy to do so because we wanted USD to be a safe and supportive learning environment for all its students and to provide an equal opportunity for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

    We were not, however, seeking the promotion of values that are directly contrary to our Catholic faith and traditions. Many of us feel those values have been compromised by having events on campus such as gay dances, and speakers and programs promoting abortion and same-sex marriage; however, enough is enough. What will be next, the obscene plays and pornographic gay film festivals that they have at other universities? As the English philosopher Edmund Burke said: 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.'

    Therefore, please join us in voicing your objection to the drag show on April 11, 2012 by contacting Mary Lyons, president of USD, at, phone: 619-260-4520, fax: 619-260-6833; and Charles Bass, the Director of the USD Alumni Association, at, phone: 619-260-4819, fax: 619-260-4188.

    Because of the shortness of time, this letter is only going out to all current members of the USD Alumni Board, all past presidents of the USD Alumni Board, and all current members of the USD Board of Trustees who are alums. If our objections continue to be ignored and this depraved event goes forward, then we are considering sending a letter to our thousands of fellow USD alums to let them know about these serious concerns.

    We hope that will not be necessary and we thank you for your loyal support of USD and the Catholic values that have made it a great university. In the meantime, please allow me to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a joyous and blessed Easter.


    Charles S. LiMandri
    Class of 1977

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

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