Brigham Young University removes LGBTQ+ support

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The Mormon, anti-LGBTQ+ Brigham Young University. (brighamyoung university/Instagram)

Mormon-owned Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah has been condemned for denying crucial support to “lonely and isolated” queer students.

RaYnbow Collective, a group that works to provide safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students on and near the BYU campus, had provided 5,000 queer resource brochures to include in welcome packs for new freshmen.

But this week the group announced that the documents – which included information about therapy, safe housing, scholarships, activities and events – had been removed by the university, with many “thrown away”.

“This decision is disappointing and discouraging, especially considering our experiences as freshmen feeling alone, isolated and unsupported as gay students. Unfortunately, this follows a consistent pattern of BYU breaking promises and agreements with LGBTQ+ students,” said RaYnbow Collective.

Brigham Young University has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ policies, consistent with the beliefs of the Mormon Church.

The university has strict religious policies enshrined in its honor code, which students can be expelled for violating. Students are required to “lead a chaste and virtuous life, including abstaining from sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and a woman”, and “homosexual romantic behavior” is prohibited as it does not “conduce not to eternal marriage”.

John Valdez, executive director of the OUT Foundation which supports LGBTQ+ alumni and current BYU students, said PinkNews: “BYU’s policies harm the emotional and intellectual development of gay students on campus.”

“Queer students are often altered and made to feel less than their heteronormative peers. Homosexual relations are prohibited; if a student dares to explore a relationship, in what is normally considered an integral part of the college experience, they also risk losing access to their education, campus jobs, and even housing.

Valdez of the OUT Foundation added, “Queer expression is not allowed on campus; protests surrounding homophobic policies, exploration of gender identity, and even queer-centric art have all been shut down by the university.

In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has worked hard to improve the situation for gay college students, but officials have repeatedly pushed back.

In a statement, RaYnbow Collective said: “A unilateral decision has been made against our contract to remove the items and dispose of them.

“We are currently in discussions with BYU to find solutions and how to move forward…It has taken hundreds of hours and over 50 volunteers to provide this package and other resources.

Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins confirmed that the university removed the LGBTQ+ brochures and claimed the decision was made because the resources were provided by an outside group. .

Instead, Jenkins said students should seek support from the “Office of Membership and our Counseling Services” rather than “outside entities” that “imply university affiliation or endorsement.” “.

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