BY ANDREA HOUSTON – The Mormons may seem like one of the most unlikely groups of people to release an It Gets Better video. But that’s exactly why a video from a few very brave queer students at a strict Mormon-run college is so powerful.
These 22 students attend one of the most anti-gay post-secondary schools in the country: Utah’s Brigham Young University. BYU has an honour code that all students must adhere to, and that code prohibits “homosexual behaviour.” Up until 2010, the school banned all gay rights advocacy, The Washington Post reports. It’s estimated that 1,800 queer students attend BYU.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints forbids gay sex and gay marriage. Gay students are not allowed to kiss or even touch. By posting the video, the students could face excommunication from the church and expulsion from BYU.
The video notes that BYU is consistently ranked one of the most unfriendly campuses in the nation for queer students.
Just five years ago, BYU students weren’t allowed to discuss their sexual orientation without risking expulsion under the school’s honour code. A clarification in 2007 stressed that stating “one’s sexual orientation is not an Honor Code issue.”
In the video students confess that they have considered suicide because they didn’t think they could be Mormon and gay; they note that queer BYU students often try to “cure” themselves. “Increased personal righteousness is reported by LGBT Mormons as the most common, yet least effective, method of attempting to change sexual orientation."
Here’s a selection of their quotes:
"God clearly doesn’t love me because God does not love gay people."
"I know what it’s like when your father condemns you."
"I thought that eventually, maybe it would be better if I died."
"I just felt like I needed to kill myself because the heartbreak of me dying would be less than the heartbreak my parents would experience by me coming out to them."
"I tried everything to be the perfect Mormon, thinking I could cure myself."
The students elaborate on their experiences in their own separate videos. Click here for the BYU It Gets Better YouTube channel.