The Logan Block Party celebrates one of the last Saturdays of summer on St. Aloysius Elementary School’s parking lot, just a few blocks north of Gonzaga’s campus.

Last month, 25 local businesses and organizations manned booths around the elementary school as part of the fifth annual event designed to bring Logan Neighborhood community members together. 

Among the booths was Path of Life, a local Christian nonprofit that offers unplanned pregnancy and parenting support, post-abortion recovery, relationship resources and unwanted same-sex attraction and gender clarification.

Path of Life advertises free and confidential mentoring to examine the developmental roots of same-sex attraction and support for those struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation.

According to its website, the nonprofit offers transformative mentoring.

“You are not bound to a life of hopelessness, guilt and shame, but through the gospel of Jesus, your heart, mind and behaviors can be transformed, and healing can be found,” the website said.

Kevin Snow, vice president of GU’s Queer Student Union, said Path of Life shouldn’t have been a part of the Logan Block Party.  

“Our main contention against it is that it’s frankly offensive to our community and has no place at a Gonzaga event, especially because Gonzaga has in my personal view, gone out of their way to advertise their commitment to the LGBT community in recent years,” Snow said. “I would personally just see this as a very unfortunate inclusion.”

Sheri Olsen, executive director of Path of Life, said the nonprofit attended the block party this year and last, because it is a part of the neighborhood.

Path of Life has been located at 103 E. Indiana Ave. for two years.

Olsen was surprised that students were unsettled by Path to Life’s presence at the block party, she said, as Path to Life is invites people to come to them to gain a different perspective and does not demand their attendance.

This year, there wasn’t an application or approval process to have a booth at the block party, but the planning committee is working to include one for the future, said Bailley Wootton, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement at GU.

The planning committee was comprised of a handful of volunteers from CCE, Logan Elementary School, nonprofit partners and Logan neighborhood residents.

All the different planning committee members approached different businesses and organizations that they had connections with in order to be involved with the block party, either by supporting it or hosting a booth.

After Snow brought his concern to Wootton about Path of Life’s attendance at the block party, Wootton shared the worry with her committee.

“We had really good conversation and there’s definitely a desire for it to be a space and event that everyone is welcome and that it’s safe and inclusive,” Wootton said. “What that looks like exactly in the future, I don’t know.”

Olsen does not expect that everyone is happy with Path to Life, but she wouldn’t stand to say that someone else doesn’t belong because they make her uncomfortable, she said.

“Not everyone feels comfortable in every situation,” she continued.

Members of the planning committee are researching what criteria, if any, are put into place in other cities to manage vendors at their block parties.

 “[The Logan Block Party] is something targeted specifically toward families and well, one, it delegitimizes the idea that someone like me could have a family, which is deeply offensive,” Snow said. “Two, I think that it’s, once again, a legal gray area around if you should even be advertising that around children, that idea that you’re misplaced.”

Governor Jay Inslee signed a new law in March of 2018 banning licensed therapists from working to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The law came into effect that June.

The measure doesn’t apply to unlicensed counselors operating as part of a religious organization, denomination or church.

The age requirement isn’t a concern for Olsen, considering most of the students at GU are over 18 and able to make their own decisions, she said.

At the end of the day, Snow hopes that GU will take action. 

“The university has made pushes to advertise itself as friendly to my community and I want to see that view really represented in all things, especially for something advertised on their page,” he said.

Olsen was surprised that students were unsettled by Path of Life’s presence at the block party, she said, as Path of Life invites people to come to them to gain a different perspective and does not demand their attendance.

This year, there wasn’t an application or approval process to have a booth at the block party, but the planning committee is working to include one for the future, said Bailley Wootton, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at GU.

The planning committee was comprised of a handful of volunteers from CCE, Logan Elementary School, nonprofit partners and Logan Neighborhood residents.

All the different planning committee members approached businesses and organizations that they had connections with asking for their involvement with the block party, either by supporting it or hosting a booth.

After Snow brought his concern to Wootton about Path of Life’s attendance at the block party, Wootton shared the worry with her committee.

“We had really good conversation and there’s definitely a desire for it to be a space and event where everyone is welcome and that it’s safe and inclusive,” Wootton said. “What that looks like exactly in the future, I don’t know.”

Olsen does not expect that everyone is happy with Path of Life, but she wouldn’t stand to say that someone else doesn’t belong because they make her uncomfortable, she said.

“Not everyone feels comfortable in every situation,” she continued.

Members of the planning committee are researching what criteria, if any, are put into place in other cities to manage vendors at their block parties.

 “[The Logan Block Party] is something targeted specifically toward families and well, one, it delegitimizes the idea that someone like me could have a family, which is deeply offensive,” Snow said. “Two, I think that it’s, once again, a legal gray area around if you should even be advertising that around children, that idea that you’re misplaced.”

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new law in March 2018 banning licensed therapists from working to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The law came into effect that June.

The measure doesn’t apply to unlicensed counselors operating as part of a religious organization, denomination or church.

The age requirement isn’t a concern for Olsen, considering most of the students at GU are over 18 and able to make their own decisions, she said.

At the end of the day, Snow hopes that GU will take action. 

“The university has made pushes to advertise itself as friendly to my community and I want to see that view really represented in all things, especially for something advertised on their page,” he said.

Arcelia Martin is the Editor-in-Chief.

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(1) comment

M

"Path of Life advertises free and confidential mentoring to examine the developmental roots of same-sex attraction and support for those struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation." So you mean conversion therapy?

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