Same-sex attraction at BYU

Same-sex attraction at BYU is getting a public spotlight this week thanks to a video by an unofficial group of students and faculty.

The video, produced by a group called Understanding Same-Gender Attraction, features BYU students talking about the struggles of having same-sex attraction while also being  members of the LDS church and BYU students. It is eye-opening.

As a mother, the most heartbreaking part of the video was when a female BYU student talked about how as a teenager, she thought about committing suicide. She thought her parents would be less traumatized by her death than by her coming out of the closet.

Horrible. It would kill me to hear my child say that.

The best part of this video is that there is no mention of politics. No debate over nature vs. choice. There is not even mention of what exactly it entails to be a homosexual student at BYU — the university Honor Code, for example, states same-sex attraction is not a violation of the school’s policy as long as student behavior meets the school’s standards.

In the video, there is nothing but love, support and encouragement. These BYU students have been through horrible things and dark moments to get to the point where they are happy enough and confident enough to share their stories publicly. That is not only brave, but a selfless act filled with love.

And if this video teaches nothing else, its core message to me is love. The debates on homosexuality will likely rage on forever. Each side will probably just get more entrenched.

But these BYU students are on the right track. It’s not about who is right or who is wrong — or even what is right or wrong.  It’s about real people — sons and daughters of parents who undoubtedly love them as much as I love my own little girls — who are in need of love, support and understanding.

What do you think of the video, and of the struggles of homosexual LDS or BYU students in general?

6 comments

  1. James

    I think this is great. How can a gay or lesbian Mormon progress without being able to be honest with themselves and others. I know many gay and lesbian Mormons and church members need to be more empathetic and supportive of them. Most gay members have had suicidal thoughts even when they were living the gospel. That is proof that something is wrong. God is telling these people that he loves them. What a difficult place to be. I have heard so many members say such unchristlike things about and to gay members. Even if you live the gospel and are gay, it is very hard to be in the church. Why is that? If a straight person felt guilt and shame every time they felt attraction, even if it was innocent or romantic, they would be in hell everyday. This issue needs more understanding and attention.

  2. former BYU student

    I just read a CNN article about this. BYU spokesperson said that the students are obeying the honor code in making these videos and she says the thing that concerns her is the talk of suicide. She says they need to take advantage of counseling services at BYU if they are feeling suicidal. LDS social stigma with being gay needs to change for BYU students to feel safe and confident to go and seek help regarding being gay and all that can come along with it. I was attracted to the same sex at BYU and I still am, but I was too ashamed to talk to anyone about it and I felt this reinforced by the people around me. Going to BYU and on a mission helped me keep my thoughts pure so my thoughts were more relationship and love oriented, but they were still about men. I did everything I could to change being gay and from what other members told me, I thought it was possible. Trying so hard to change took a beating on my spirit and psychological state. I hope that being gay and Mormon is easier for the youth now than it was for me. I am in my 30’s and still haven’t told my parents because of how they talk about gay people.

  3. Elizabeth

    I think it is good if they can get the support and love that they need. Though It does worry me that they label themselves Gay or Lesbian. I don’t think it is good to label yourself with that which tempts you.

  4. GaMom

    I thought the video was well done and thoughtful but it was a little difficult for me personally. One of the young men in the video dated my daughter for 9 months, even though he had these feelings since he was 16. During this time with my daughter he never opened up about this. They discussed marriage and she felt that this relationship was going in the right direction. She had changed her plans for the summer to stay in Provo and then out of nowhere he broke up with her, waiting until the day after drop/add so she couldn’t leave and come home. No explaination and leaving her confused and hurt. Just a month ago he sent her and other friends a video “coming out” and talking about how he had “experimented” with trying to be heterosexual after coming home from his mission, but found it “disgusting”. How would you like to find out while watching a video with friends that you were an experiment and found lacking!? I have a number of gay friends and can sympathize with their struggles but as a protective mom I think being honest is a better approach.

  5. Upstate NY

    Where I grew up, the Wild Wild West started west of the Hudson River, and members of other races were okay to sit near at work, but don’t dare bring them home to your neighbors to meet. Oh boy, yes, we were a religious enclave. Armed camps of churches, so busy complaining about each other, I’d just duck and stay low. We graduated about 100 kids per year from my high school, and not a single one of them was gay or lesbian — until after they graduated.

    Funny thing was, as the info would spread like wildfire via our school reunion organizers, I was never truly surprised by any of the “revelations.” I grew up with them for up to 13 years, played sports with them, and even regularly lent my running spikes for muddy meets to one who was too poor to have his own. I simply knew that something just wasn’t “right” in their “chemical” interactions with me, even as early as middle school. With my “future gay” guy friends, there was no magic moment in the eyes, even when playing tug of war, tickling, or wrestling. Even if you can’t stand some hetero guys, there’s still that moment, after which, you go, drats, if on a desert island, well, better than nothing.

    The really, really sad part is the lie they had to live all of that time. Some came out right after high school. One of our top female athletes, with strange emotional issues and aggressive behavior, moved in with our former middle school home ec teacher, living in an area well known as our local version of Greenwich Village, or the Castro District. She had all older brothers, a male twin (who I got along well with, just not her), and alcoholic parents who served alcohol to our classmates at parties, for years before they were legal.

    My buddy who I lent spikes to? His older brother was a jerk, but very hetero, and actually asked me to the prom. I turned him down, actually hoping his younger brother would ask me. Yeah, right. My buddy and I met up again when we ended up taking a computer class together — he as an undergrad, & I as a grad (so I had an extra assignment each week on top of what we had in common). He had a wife and 2 kids. He was a computer programmer, working and taking classes, and she was a paralegal. They had a 3 yr old girl and 1.5 yr old boy. One day the girl wandered over and told us how to fix our problem — it was adorable — she used all of the right terminology, having listened to us for hours. She didn’t help, but she put a huge smile on our faces. His wife almost never said a word to me during that intensive 4 week summer class — she’d make plain popcorn and watch TV. Only once, while passing me some peas when she “made” dinner (well, heated up canned foods) for us once, she asked when I was marrying my boyfriend. What was scary is that she still had no clue. I knew his best friend in high school (and a good friend of mine, also) was going to be a male nurse, and not just because it was a cheap education for a good job. I was the one who told him to talk to a fellow runner from a nearby school who was already going to be a male nurse (and who I 100% knew was gay, thanks to his classmate who was also a top runner, when we all went to States together, telling me). Years later, I knew what was probably going on at the pit crew at Watkins Glen, since he refused to bail out on every Saturday, all day, with them, even during this intensive month of work and computer programming. He’d grown a beer gut and was smoking like a train, even though his dad had died from smoking and working with etch chemicals while we were still in high school (my father died of smoking and etch chemicals, same facility, while I was in undergrad). It took until he and his wife had FOUR kids, for him to finally tell the world he was gay. Given how clueless his wife was after 2 kids, thinking that _I_ might even be a threat, I can only imagine how surprised she was when he finally had to practically write it in bold letters on his forehead.

    Many kids are _born_ gay and lesbian. Some are born bi. Live with it, and stop torturing them, and the people they are forced to lie to for years.

  6. Compassion

    Well, curiosity makes me ask: does anyone know WHY some are BORN homosexual? Is it something the parents did to themselves (e.g., drugs?) which altered their chromosomes and genes?

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