Our Dear Affirmation Family,
On Thursday, August 24, 2023, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced updated expectations for students at Brigham Young University, BYU–Idaho, BYU–Hawaii and Ensign College, revising Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement questions, the Honor Code, and dress and grooming standards. Among the changes are language changes that affect LGBTQ students. Original language in the Honor Code required a commitment to “live a chaste and virtuous life, including abstaining from any sexual relations outside a marriage between a man and a woman.” New language adds, “Living a chaste and virtuous life also includes abstaining from same-sex romantic behavior.”
We recognize that this additional targeting of the queer community within church schools will be incredibly painful and cause further feelings of marginalization within the student body. We mourn with those of you who are mourning. We also affirm that queer identities are holy and beautiful. Authentic and purposeful queer lives are chaste and virtuous lives. We affirm that LGBTQ children of God are worthy of love, of equity, of dignity, and of every good and virtuous gift available to humankind. We find beauty in diversity, and we believe that lives of inclusion and hope are what will make us better as individuals, as churches, and as societies.
If you are affected by these changes and are feeling hopeless or in need of support, please reach out. You are part of the Affirmation family, and we love you for who you are, exactly as you are. If you are in crisis, please call 988, or text START to 741-741 to chat. You are worthy, and you matter.
With deep love,