Being Queer at BYU

Written by a good friend

Disclaimer: It’s going to be hard. I know no queer who has had an easy ride at BYU.

As a gay man myself, I can speak to this from experience. I will enumerate steps that have helped me and even made BYU a pleasurable experience for me.

1. Make a friend who is a TRUE queer ally.

By true, I mean someone who respects gender transitions, pronouns, and queer related civil rights (e.g., gay marriage). They don’t necessarily have to be Ex-Mormon. I have found some good orthodox Mormons and non-orthodox friends who support my decisions, but it is wise to keep your distance from toxic members of the LDS faith. Here is an example of dialogue to show you what a toxic Mormon is:

Me: You know, I don’t think you can be a queer ally without supporting gay marriage.

Former friend: That’s not true! I’m such an ally, but I don’t support gay marriage.

This is harmful because these people say they love you while also sending a message that you are sinning. As an Ex-Mormon queer at BYU, you do not need to subject yourself to those extra microaggressions and anxieties. To make things easier, distance yourself from people who add anxiety to your life and become closer to those friends who support you.

2. If you can, find an ally faculty member.

Personally, I have seen several in the JFSB and some in the Talmage. The humanities, social sciences, and education departments tend to be more queer friendly.

Finding a faculty member who is queer friendly is incredibly important. Having an adult (not a student) support you makes the institution of BYU feel much safer. They can also provide more specific advice for navigating their department in safe way.

3). Watch what you say and how you act.

Obviously, homosexuality and/or being a gender minority are anathemas to some faculty and students. Therefore, it’s important to not give people a reason to dislike you and/or target you. Sadly, we have to be careful with whom we disclose our non-heterosexual and non-cisgender identities.

4). If microaggressions, feelings of isolation, and/or any oppression gets too hard, do NOT hesitate to transfer.

Your mental health is worth much more than a couple thousand dollars in tuition. Even UVU is much better for queers because it’s not owned by the Church.

5). It gets better.

I promise. I almost killed myself over this issue, and I’m so glad that I didn’t. Life and love are so much better than I thought they could be.