Gay Mormon students are hoping to change the church from the inside out
LGBT students attending the Mormon Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, say they hope they can change the Church’s policies towards gay people from the inside.
In a recent report from Utah newspaper the Daily Herald, LGBT students at the private, Mormon university in Utah struggle to live openly at the university, but hope that will change.
Students at Brigham Young have to comply by the university’s “honour code”, which is set by the Church of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormon church.
On same-sex activity, the code says: “One’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.”
The code bans “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” The subjectiveness of this leaves many LGBT students afraid to touch each other at all, for fear of being reported. They would then be expelled.
“I don’t hold hands, I don’t kiss people, I don’t do any of those things because the honor code says that is against their standards and regulations,” Aubree Lyman, a student at the university, told the Daily Herald.
“I try to avoid having a whole lot of contact with women in general because I don’t want to have to deal with the dirty looks and the potential reporting of I am being inappropriate with someone because I tap on their shoulder to say ‘hi’.”
When asked ‘why’ they want to stay at the university, despite its discriminatory code against LGBT people, the students report a number of reasons, including low fees and not wanting to appear to have left the church.
Other students hope they can influence the university and the Church into being more accepting of LGBT people. “We are doing important work here.
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“In many ways, we are the pioneers of making the campus safe for LGBT people,” Adena Moulton, another student, said.
“I feel very strongly that I want to leave this school a safer place for the people who come after me.”
The Mormon Church says its members must reject homosexuality, unless members remain celibate for life.
The religion also rejects the children of gay parents, unless they actively disavow their parents’ “lifestyle”, and has been linked to a number of dangerous gay ‘cure’ practises.
Earlier this year, Mormon leader David A Bednar, who sits on the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, insisted that the church has no gay members.
However, in October this year, the Mormons launched an ‘advice’ website, aimed at converting gay people.