Brigham Young University, an institution of higher education owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has removed a section from its honor code which previously considered behavior that implied “homosexual feelings” to be in violation of school rules.
Famously, the Utah based university derives it’s “morals” and “ethics” from the Mormon church by which it was founded, and in keeping in line with the faith’s beliefs and teachings, consider homosexuality to be fine, but believe gay sex to be a one way ticket to whatever the Mormon equivalent of hell to be (is it just normal hell?).
Apparently the BYU honor code, in attempting to encourage their queer students to live happy healthy lives by never experiencing any kind of physical intimacy that aligned with their true feelings and desires whatsoever at all, specifically banned “all forms of physical intimacy that that give expression to homosexual feelings.”
Students on campus have long complained about the clause, in part because it sets up a double standard between gay and straight relationships. Just like gay sex (or as people who are gay might call it, just sex), is considered to be sin, so is all premarital sex, according to the faith. However, straight couples on campus are not impeded by any school regulation from holding hands or sucking face on the quad, which was not the case for queer students.
Naturally, I couldn’t be more excited to know that the campus queers at BYU are finally free to tongue punch each other in between class periods just as God intended, but now that the honor code has been updated and has brought the school’s policies well into the 1950's, I’m afraid I might never find out exactly what BYU considered “homosexual feelings” to be, or how they banned students from expressing them.
In the absence of any formal mandate from BYU on what “homosexual feelings” are exactly, I have generated a non-exhaustive list of what I assume students there are now free to experience:
- Anxiety, just in general but also specifically as it relates to making eye contact with someone else wearing cuffed jeans, also known as Gay Anxiety
- Exhaustion, also in general but specifically as it relates to being forced to watch another season of Drag Race
- Ennui, a gay feeling in and of itself
- Diane! a feeling that isn’t always related to seeing a Diane (Keaton, Lane, etc.), and might be caused by seeing a Kate (Blanchett, McKinnon), or a Laura (Dern, just Dern)
- Comfort and stability, not something gay people are technically able to feel but nice to know that at least they’re allowed to now
Of course as all queer people are acutely aware, with every supposed modicum of progress comes an entirely new set of hurdles to jump. After the changes were made to the honor code, BYU clarified in a tweet that “The Honor Code Office will handle questions that arise on a case by case basis,” noting that “since dating means different things to different people, the Honor Code Office will work with students individually.” Personally, that sounds like a lot of straight nonsense to me, but hopefully not nonsense that will cause trouble for students who are, at the end of the day, just trying to navigate the world and understand their place in it. And also make out on the quad.