It is the Mission of Shelly’s Voice to inspire a deeper sense of belonging for and understanding of LGBTQ+ individuals in the Catholic community.
It is the vision of Shelly’s Voice to create a more accepting Catholic community, where all Catholics are given the opportunity to lead others towards the Word of God.
How We Started
Why We Continue
On August 10th, 2018, a Catholic school guidance counselor was pulled into a meeting and given four choices: divorce her wife, resign, keep quiet, or immediately be terminated. This meeting quickly spread across the school community. Within 48 hours, the students at the school decided they were not going to sit back and allow this happen. They planned protests, wrote emails, met with the Archbishop, and wore rainbow pins into school.
Shelly’s Voice Advocacy Group was created to organize and mobilize our generation’s great amount of passion to stand up for what is right. While our activism started with one counselor, the mission of Shelly’s Voice expands our advocacy efforts to all LGBTQ+ individuals in the Catholic community. We continue to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community because we have an equal love for the Catholic Church and humanity. We believe there is inconsistency between the current Church policy and Church doctrine. And we will continue until there is coherence in the Church’s teaching of universal acceptance and policy. In the end, Shelly’s Voice wants to create the change necessary to show the love we know our Church has for each one of us.
Why are you doing this?
When people ask us why we are standing up for the LGBTQ+ community, they are often shocked to hear our response. The answer to this question is simple: We advocate because we love the Catholic Church. While some Catholics cannot comprehend how a person can fully affirm the LGBTQ+ community while still being a faithful Christian, we see no confusion in this principle. Going to a Catholic school, we have always been taught to not see the sin, but rather the holiness when it comes to a person’s worth in God’s eyes. After seeing the discrimination against Shelly at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, we saw a major rift in what we had been taught and what was being practiced. We know Shelly’s Voice, and all the community members who support us, is God’s calling to create unity between policy and doctrine.
Who is Shelly?
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, Shelly Fitzgerald was one of six guidance counselors at Roncalli High School. Being her alma mater and working there for 15 years, Shelly had such a deep passion for the school. Her passion and work sadly came to an end when she was placed on administrative leave after the Archdiocese discovered she was married to a woman. Her quick and unjust departure left hundreds of students without a counselor to lead them through finishing their college applications and planning their future after high school. Shelly’s Voice was officially started after this event to stand up against this type of discrimination and insure an incident like this never happens again.
Currently, Shelly is still on paid administrative leave and her position has been taken over by another guidance counselor. It is part of our mission to make sure that someday, Shelly will be able to re-apply for her position and finally be considered a valid employee in the school. We plan on doing this by advocating for a change to the Church’s employee morality contract to allow the LGBTQ+ community the ability to be rightful employees of the Catholic Church.
Who has the power to change the contract?
Contrary to common belief, the power to change the contract is held by each Catholic Archdiocese, not the individual schools, facilities, and institutions which fall under the Archdiocese. Currently, we are working with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Archbishop to change the contract. Once the Archbishop changes the policy, dozens of schools all over Indianapolis will be able to hire members of the LGBTQ+ community.