Gay Mormon students want to change their church from the inside out

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PROVO, UNITED STATES: More than 15,000 students and faculty file into a prayer service at the basketball arena at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, on behalf of the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. 11 September, 2001. AFP Photo George Frey (Photo credit should read GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images)

Mormon church officials actively deny that fact that there are gay Mormons. But the LGBT students of the Mormon university in Utah say out loud that they exist and they unite to change the attitude of their church to their community.

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 does not permit “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.

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