In 2006 a group called Soulforce came to BYU. My memory isn’t good enough to remember exactly what I thought or said at the time, but I do have vague recollections of distrust and annoyance. Who was this group coming to our campus and spreading a message we were never going to believe in? We have a structure and a culture that influences and defines our beliefs, and we didn’t need “the world” telling us how to think and act.
In 2007 BYU made changes to the Honor Code that clarified whether an openly homosexual person can attend. Wonderful progress, but a bit shameful considering the previous wording had people feeling like they had to remain closeted to be part of the student body. Any type of homosexual activity, kissing, holding hands, etc still isn’t allowed (not just on campus, this means that current students can’t participate in such things anywhere, at any time).
In 2010 BYU made another shift to policy, lifting a ban on advocacy of homosexuality. A group called Understanding Same-Gender Attraction was formed, and the beautiful video you see below could be made. Recently BYU allowed a panel discussion comprised of three self-identified homosexual students and one bisexual student. All four students currently attend BYU and were there to share their experiences and beliefs. It makes my heart happy to hear that the event was not only allowed, it was filled to capacity, with all seats taken a half-hour before the event began. This doesn’t mean things are even close to where I’d like them to be, but when I return to BYU one last time this summer I will be interacting with students here and there who feel the same way I do.
They’re looking for change.
Hoping for change.
Advocating for change in large and small ways.
If you are LGBTQ at BYU this Summer term (or heterosexual of course, I don’t discriminate), I want you to know that I would love to be your friend. You can tell me which fro-yo place is the best right now. We Mormons love our frozen yogurt.
I am a straight ally, and I want to help make it better for everyone, no matter their orientation or belief system.
I didn’t always feel the way I do now, but I’m human, and I change as I stretch and learn and grow. We all change. And we can become better.