FAQs

When and where are your meetings?

Our meetings are Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the Provo City Library, either room 201 or 309. We also have social activities on Tuesdays and occasionally on Saturdays. See our Facebook page for more details.

 

What sort of things happen at your meetings?

We have a variety of activities each week. Sometimes we will listen to a lecture on mental health, other days a panel of members will share their experience with sexuality or faith, or we could have a fun activity like a murder mystery or potluck. We post a description of the activity for each week on our Facebook page. You can also visit our blog and read descriptions of past activities.

 

I’m not out and scared to go to a meeting.

Don’t worry, most of us were scared our first time. There are usually between 70-100 people at our meetings, and we always have visitors, many of whom are straight. Everyone is very welcoming and respectful. USGA was created as a safe place to be yourself, and we make every effort that people be comfortable when visiting.

 

I’m not a BYU student. Can I still come?

Yes! We welcome everyone, but we ask that you be respectful of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU, and the LGBTQ community. We encourage everyone to abide by the BYU Honor Code while attending any of our events.

 

I’m under the age of 18. Can I still come?

We ask that minors be accompanied by a parent or guardian when attending.

 

What’s the difference between LGBT, same-gender attraction, and queer? Isn’t queer kind of derogatory?

LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This is the acronym most people use to describe those who have a different sexual orientation or gender identity than the majority. Queer is a catch-all term for the community, including the categories of LGBT as well as those who do not fit into one specific group. While the word queer used to be derogatory, it has been reclaimed by the LGBT community and may now be used as an adjective so long as it is done respectfully. The leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prefer to use the term same-gender attraction (sometimes same-sex attraction) to describe the feelings of attraction one might experience, most likely in an effort to de-emphasize sexual behavior. USGA will often use the combined acronym LGBTQ/SSA to be inclusive of all these definitions. When referring to individuals, it is best to allow them to identify with the term that feels most comfortable for them.

 

I have an LGBTQ/Mormon related event. Can I advertise in USGA?

USGA seeks to build ties with the larger community around us and frequently advertises upcoming activities in other organizations. However, we also maintain political neutrality, and cannot endorse certain events. If you have something you would like to advertise, please email us the details at byu.usga@gmail.com.

 

I’m doing a film/art/writing project. Can I feature USGA?

We frequently receive requests for such projects and are happy to share our message through a variety of mediums. So long as the message of the project is consistent with our mission of understanding, we would be happy to work with you. Certain restrictions may apply, as not all of our members are ready to be known publicly as LGBTQ or LGBTQ supporters. Please email us the details at byu.usga@gmail.com.

 

I’m queer and don’t know if I should come to BYU.

Like any university, BYU has its advantages and disadvantages. Many of the LGBTQ students currently attending came because they wanted a unique, spiritual atmosphere. The academics and extra-curricular activities are top-notch, while the campus is beautiful and right next to the mountains. Many of the students and faculty can even be very respectful towards LGBTQ individuals. On the other hand, many of the students and even some professors can be ignorant at best and hurtful at worst. Prospective students should carefully read the Honor Code, which reads “One’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, . . . homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” If you decide to come to BYU, we hope that you will attend USGA so that you may have a supportive and understanding community while you pursue your studies and reconcile your faith and sexuality or gender identity.

 

I’m LDS and queer and don’t know what to do. Please help me.

If you are at risk of hurting yourself, get help IMMEDIATELY! Call one of the hotlines on our Mental Health and Crisis page or seek out someone you trust.

For a long-term solution, be patient. Reconciling one’s sexuality or gender identity with one’s faith can be a long process. If possible, see a competent and understanding therapist. BYU has excellent and confidential counselors for their students. Listen to the stories of other queer members and see how others who have walked this path before have handled it. If you live nearby, come to a USGA meeting. There is great strength in a community that understands the difficulties you experience. Even though it may seem at times like the two sides of your life are pulling you in opposite directions, it DOES get better. Hang in there.

 

I want to help out USGA. How can I make a donation?

USGA is not currently set up as a 501(c) charitable organization and cannot always take monetary donations. However, if you would like to make another contribution, please send us an email at byu.usga@gmail.com.

 

How can you be LDS and gay? Doesn’t that make you bad Mormons?

To answer this question, please see the Church’s official website mormonsandgays.org: “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.” USGA acknowledges that sexual orientation and gender identity are key parts of a person’s identity, and seeks to help queer BYU students have happy, fulfilling lives by giving them the tools necessary for navigating this “complex reality.”

 

I don’t live in Provo, but still need support as a queer Mormon.

There are several LGBT Mormon groups that have chapters all over the world. Please see our Groups and Stories page for more details.

 

I want to get involved! How can I help?

Leadership positions in USGA are limited to current BYU students. However, one of the best ways others can help is to spread the message of understanding and acceptance. Please share the material on our website with friends and family. It is almost certain that you know LGBT people who are still in the closet, afraid to tell anyone for fear of rejection. If you feel comfortable, make it known that you are someone who is safe to talk to about LGBT issues. Such people can save the life of someone in quiet desperation.

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