Brigham Young University’s Gay Students

Brigham Young University, the private Utah college closely affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, apparently has something of an active gay community.

According to an article by Rosemary Winters in the Salt Lake Tribune:

For young people struggling to come to terms with being gay and Mormon, 22 Brigham Young University students have a message: “It gets better.” On Friday, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) students at BYU and some of their straight allies released a video on YouTube, adding to some 40,000 video messages that aim to prevent depression and suicide among gay teens as part of the It Gets Better project.

At BYU, the video is just one more sign of changing attitudes toward being gay and Mormon. On the Provo campus Wednesday, an estimated 600 students crammed into a room that seated 260 to listen to four students discuss what it’s like to balance their faith, which teaches that same-sex sexual activity is sinful, with their gay or bisexual identities. The speakers were part of an unofficial school club called Understanding Same Gender Attraction.

Here’s the video:

The thing is, it might get better, but it can’t really get that much better. It’s not actually possible to be both a practicing Mormon and a sexually active gay person.

The Mormon Church prohibits any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage. Gay students at BYU are not, the article points out, expelled from the university if they identify as gay. They face no sanctions as long as they remain celibate.

It’s worth pointing out that students at BYU face punishment for physical intimacy even with members of the opposite sex. All students are expected to uphold the church’s law of chastity (which prohibits sexual relations outside of marriage).

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer