Dear Commons Community,
A dozen people dressed as angels surrounded their LGBTQ peers and allies at a “Back to School Pride Night” event Saturday in Provo, Utah, shielding them from a crowd of protesters that yelled anti-LGBTQ slurs (see video above).
Community members sporting wings made of white sheets stood hand-in-hand to block the messages of the protesters, who had gathered at Kiwanis Park to object to the off-campus Pride event organized by students at Brigham Young University (BYU). As reported by The Hill.
Protesters yelled hateful slurs at the group of LGBTQ students and allies that attended Saturday’s celebration, calling them “pedophiles” and “groomers.” Many attended to voice their opposition to a drag show that featured current and former BYU students as performers.
Under BYU’s Honor Code, which students agree to live by as part of their admission requirements, same-sex relationships are strictly prohibited and LGBTQ student groups are not permitted to meet or hold events on-campus.
The religious school, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which does not recognize same-sex marriage, was praised by students and LGBTQ advocates in 2020 when it removed a rule from its Honor Code that banned “homosexual behavior.”
Just three weeks later, however, officials clarified that students in same-sex relationships who engaged in public displays of affection like hand-holding or kissing would be subject to disciplinary action.
Students and community members say they dressed as angels not only to protect LGBTQ+ students from protesters, but also to push back against the university’s policies.
“I’m doing this because I want our LGBTQ community to feel like they can be themselves and know we have their backs,” Sabrina Wong, a BYU student and ally who stood as one of the angels, told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Late last month, LGBTQ student groups including the RaYnbow Collective, an off-campus organization that supports BYU’s LGBTQ community and organized Saturday’s Pride event, said the university had removed resources for queer students from welcome bags given to first-year students.
God bless these angels!