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Gay Culture At BYU
Transcript of Gay Culture At BYU
Just like we've been learning from Takaki, we should teach a more inclusive history
More open talk about homosexuality; no more taboo
Most similar to Irish, Mexicans, or Blacks?
Comparison to Other Cultures
Identifying between two cultures- similar to Mexicans
Communities facilitate ethnogenisis- similar to Barrios
Church Stance on Same-Sex Attraction
Earl Kofoed, a gay BYU student in the 194os wrote: "We had quite a healthy gay community functioning on campus and around town. We had lots of good times together and some of us fell in and out of love. I suppose that the more "worldly" straights at school were aware of us, but I don't recall any confrontations. Certainly we weren't summoned by authorities to be grilled or excommunicated or given bad advice on how we could "change." The climate was much less hostile that it would be three decades later.”
As of 2007, the honor code reads:
“One’s sexual orientation 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 Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards."
"The biggest issue is there is a lot of misunderstanding in the community about what the church's standing on being gay is. These students are keeping the honor code and are here to get their degree like everybody else, and we need to create a place for them to be accepted and feel comfortable and safe so they can pursue an education just like everyone else," said Forste. "Many think that anything relating to homosexuality is a sin, but as long as students aren't acting on their attractions they are following the honor code and they need to be supported and encouraged in that effort." -BYU professor Renata Forste
"I think there is something to be said for coming together. If we really want to effect change on our campus, in its policies, in making a place for us within the church we're going to have to come out," said Smith. "We're going to have to stand together. We're going to have to make ourselves known and make a good impression because hate feeds on lack of exposure." -Spencer Smith BYU Junior
Kendall Wilcox, a former BYU employee and member of Understanding Same-gender Attraction (USGA) said, “The primary intent [of the video] was to just send a message of love, hope and community to LGBT
Gay Culture at BYU
Similarities in Development
50s- gays not focus of attention. Similar to blacks first in U.S.
60s-70s - “not want others to be contaminated” (Wilkinson, 1965)
2000s- increased awareness
Similarities- Why It's Important
Psychic Disequilibrium - "For BYU, several LGBT alumni have had a huge impact on the nation, but they aren’t recognized or celebrated here... BYU would gain much from celebrating LGBT people... a visibility of LGBT people would help LGBT students feel welcome on campus"- Adam, USGA Pres.
Race and sexuality can be seen as a master status
"I see being gay as a part of my identity, yes. It colors the way I experience the world and gives meaning to the interactions that I have with others"- Adam, USGA Pres.
Differences to Consider
Categorize Race Physically- can’t always tell someone’s sexuality just by looking at them
Exposure to Culture - “After all, what separates homosexuals and lesbians from every other minority group is that they are born and raised within the bosom of the majority… each generation of gay men and lesbians grows up being taught the heterosexual norms and culture of their home environments”
Implications for gay culture ending
It Gets Better Campaign
From the LDS sponsored "Mormons and Gays" website:
"From a public relations perspective it would be easier for the Church to simply accept homosexual behavior. That we cannot do, for God’s law is not ours to change. There is no change in the Church’s position of what is morally right. But what is changing — and what needs to change — is to help Church members respond sensitively and thoughtfully when they encounter same-sex attraction in their own families, among other Church members, or elsewhere."
Mormon youth who are at their most vulnerable, who may be questioning their self-worth and their status before God. . . We want this video to send the message that there is hope, they have a future, there is hope for love and happiness in the future.”
"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
In January 5, 1965, Ernest Wilkinson, president of BYU spoke to the student body. The lecture is titled, “Make Honor Your Standard”. He said, “We do not intend to admit to our campus any homosexuals. If any of you have this tendency and have not completely abandoned it, may I suggest that you leave the university immediately after this assembly… We do not want others on this campus to be contaminated by your presence. “
The 60s and 70s
Prior to the 1950s: Open
(Deseret News, 1965)
(FairMormon Blog, 2012)
Through a Sociocultural Lens