Brigham Young University’s Gay-Mormon Panel Draws Crowds, Questions

Tuesday night, an over-capacity crowd spilled out of a second-floor auditorium in Brigham Young University’s Martin Building, where four students were discussing their attraction to members of the same sex and the conflict that created with their Mormon faith.

It’s rare for the subject matter to even be broached at BYU. And as Trevor Rantley reports, the audience’s response was largely positive.

One student who attended told me:

“These four students [in the panel] have some of the strongest testimonies and wonderful relationships with Christ. I hope that those who are struggling with same-gender attraction may see these four strong individuals and realize that they don’t have to choose between being honest about themselves and who they are and in being a member of the Church.”

While the fact that homosexuality is being discussed in the very heart of Mormon indoctrination is encouraging, we can’t help but be wary: The four students (three of whom are gay, one of whom identifies as bisexual) have all committed to following LDS standards and adhering to BYU’s honor code—which translates to lifelong celibacy for gays and lesbians.

Also, that phrase “struggling with same-gender attraction” kept cropping up in Rantley’s report of the event—it’s basically fundamentalist code for “trying to pray the gay away.” Are BYU administrators and students trying to be tolerant or are they simply pitying students they see as afflicted?

Most disturbingly, one of the speakers, Brandon Bastian, is married to a woman and has a young daughter. The secret to his “success” over homosexuality? “A genuine love… not based on physical intimacy,” he told the crowd.

That’s not a healthy marriage—that’s a perversity.  Is it any wonder, as Bastian casually mentioned, that his blushing bride is on medications that suppresses her libido?

Thankfully, at least two of the panelists seem to have accepted their sexuality as an intrinsic part of their personalities. During the question-and-answer period, speakers Adam White and Bridey Jensen both said they see themselves, down the road, in relationships with members of the same gender. Sadly, White clarified that if he did settle down with a guy and start a family, they’d all attend the Mormon Church together.

And so the cycle continues.

Photo via Christopher C. Smith, Boneau/Bryan-Brown, Joan Marcus

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  • Edgar

    “Sadly, White clarified that if he did settle down with a guy and start a family, they’d all attend the Mormon Church together.”

    I don’t think that’s necessarily sad at all.

  • James

    Great article. Not surprised that the crowd overflowed the auditorium. Hopefully, this will encourage other gay Mormon’s at BYU to come out. I dated a gay Mormon guy. He was amazing as a boyfriend. Wish them luck in finding a partner and being both gay and Mormon!

  • Bale Hipo

    I was in the nose-bleed section of that lecture hall last night. It was worth standing for two hours to see all the seated audience give a standing ovation at the end. All four panelists described their orientations as intrinsic to their identities. There were also a few members of a virulent anti-gay, Mormon group called “Standard of Liberty” in attendance.

  • J Stratford

    Well, all these gay mormons should just “struggle” together with other gay mormons. Maybe that will give them a chance to find and fall in love with other gays while in the closet. And as long as they are not campaigning against gay rights, they are converting people to our side by their mere visibility/existence.

  • James

    There are many parts of this that are not correct. What Brandon actually said was that his wife is on medications for her health that as a side effect kills her sex drive. And his marriage is one based off of love, why is that so disturbing? I also don’t understand the comment of “success over homosexuality.” He never mentioned his “success over homosexuality.” He does not think that being gay is wrong and he even said that he was still gay, he just married a woman.

  • Brandon

    This is like a terrible game of telephone with my life as the message. Trevor wasn’t there, and based his report on a liveblog, which left out 70% of what was said. I will correct one thing, because it’s heinously wrong: my wife is on meds that incidentally kill her libido. We joke that the shoe is on the other foot because she is the one not attracted to me now, but it is purely in jest.

  • Johnathan

    An article based on a liveblog? Really? That poor girl can only type so fast. And how is Bridey and Adam’s life choice any ‘better’ than Brandon’s? As a non-mormon BYU student who was actually there, one thing is clear: the four panelists accept their sexuality, love themselves, and love others.

  • Ramon

    This article has it wayyy wrong. First of all it happened on a wednesday -_-

  • iDavid

    Thx for those corrections. Any flack from faculty and is there a GSA in the works?

  • djames

    This may be seen as a step forward for BYU, but it’s 2 steps back for all of us. These panelists are nothing but pawns in a Religious plan to retain membership and $$$$$ by claiming “progression”, we’ll take your money, npreach tolerance, and even let you speak at BYU…. as long as you don’t “act” on your unhealthy desires, and in the meantime we will fund anti-gay campaigns with YOUR money. The ultimate form of hypocricy. In ten years these panelist will look back and wonder “WTF” was I thinking? There is a huge difference between Tolerance and Acceptance. You do not accept yourself, when you allow others to discriminate against you because of yet another “book”, created by a man, who denounced all other chuches as “Corrupt”. You want to be rich…Start a new religion. You want to be real…Follow your heart.

  • Saul

    This event was actually a pretty big deal in furthering the dialogue about this taboo topic in the BYU community. A generation of Mormons is slowly warming up to us. It’s a shame that Queerty decided rehash some irrelevancies from a second hand source (Trevor Antley, not Rantley), and do so with such glaring factual incorrectness (starting with the very first word). If Mr. Avery wants to be wary of people who choose celibacy and assume they are “trying to pray the gay away” when they are not, that’s his decision to make. But why does Queerty keep posting such drivel?

  • GreatGatsby2011

    If anyone happens to be a gay member of the LDS church I’d highly recommend the Affirmation organization (www.affirmation.org).

  • Michael

    Maybe they should have discussed how the original text of the Bible never condemned homosexuality. Corinthians? It was condemning masturbation instead less than a hundred years ago (ie, Paul never said ‘sex between men’). Leviticus? It’s part of the Holiness Code with the term translated to ‘as with’ meaning ‘bed’ every other time it’s used in Leviticus, not to mention when Paul was specifically referring this passage while writing Corinthians he stated “male bed”. Genesis? Attempted gang rape. Romans? Ever wonder why they always insist giving us the “For this reason” without stating the reason? It’s because it’s has everything to do with idolatry worship and nothing to do with orientation.

    In today’s Information Age it’s pathetic when people don’t deal with easily accessible and verifiable facts.

  • Ryan

    “That’s not a healthy marriage—that’s a perversity.”

    “Sadly, White clarified that if he did settle down with a guy and start a family, they’d all attend the Mormon Church together.”

    Yeah! Anyone who lives a lifestyle I don’t agree with is totally perverse! What a hypocrite…

  • randy

    So I guess the message is that it’s okay to be gay (maybe), but only so long as you never ever actually act out on it. Forget about having sex of any sort that would be satisfying, forget about having a boyfriend, forget about getting married to the one person you love, and totally forget about having a family.

    This wasn’t a meeting — it was an insane asylum.

  • Codswallop

    Ah, religion! How wonderful that an auditorium of brainwashed college-students gets to talk about how they “justify” their in-born sexuality with the writings a convicted con-man pulled straight out of his @$$ 150 years ago!

  • randy

    Let’s review: The LDS says that masturbation is prohibited. It also says that you cannot have sex outside of marriage, and that gays cannot get married. In any case, gay sex of any sort is prohibited.

    That means if you are gay and Mormon, you must NEVER HAVE AN ORGASM IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE!

    That is fucked — never to have the pleasure of a very simple biological act that harms no one and was provided by God (if you will) as a pleasure to all human beings. There is nothing more natural than an orgasm, being present in all mammals and human beings.

    Yet we have here a group of gay guys saying that they agree with this position. And they think that by denying themselves this one pleasure, it will somehow make God very happy and put them in the highest rings of heaven.

    This is a prescription for insanity. To look forward to an entire life of denying oneself a basic pleasure that everyone else takes for granted has got to be the most depressing thing I can think of. Worse, you must never ever have a loving relationship, even celebate, with another person of the same sex. You are doomed to be lonely.

    Unless, of course, you are willing to ask a person of the opposite sex to deny their own sexuality as well and share your misery.

    All this, just to please your parents and your church. It’s sheer madness. And by the time you wake up and realize that you have been denying yourself for people who really don’t care about YOU, the damage will have been done.

  • Chuck

    Just to inform everyone, Queerty is not a reliable source for factual, peer-reviewed, wholesome news. It’s more of a rumor and opinion blog, more akin to STAR magazine than TIME.

  • iDavid


    Basically what you are saying is the LDS is preventing you from becoming an adult. It would seem that is your choice, regardless of outside opinion by non professional sexual abusers who haven’t had a complete course in sexual education, ever.

    If you are ever going to grow up, you must tell your abusers to go to hell. If you need help find others who are willing to do the same and creat some synergy. Then you go have the life YOU want, cuz in this world, YOU come first, not another persons version of you. Drop the guilt trip and go get a life you deserve as a gay male perfect being. Get off the poison koolaide delivered by religious judgment freaks and LIVE.
    Cuz right now you sound dead as a doornail. And that is not who you really are.

  • Neal

    I can’t believe what I am seeing here. BYU is tolerating students who profess to be gay? Isn’t the Mormon church the biggest funding entity behind the battle of gay marriage in California? And how can they justify their needs and desires being put in permanent limbo just to appease the church? I think these kids need some lessons in reality. First, entering into a marriage with a woman was a HUGE mistake. Neither of you can EVER be happy. Neither can either of the families. And the boy will forever be labeled as the cause of their daughters unhappiness. So, where can this lead? I see an old Mormon pulling out his rifle and doing away with the problem that forces their daughter to take drugs to “suppress” her libido. I see murders taking place in some dark wooded area late at night by guys that know these kids. And I see this becoming a national tragedy because nobody is guiding these kids in the way they need to go to navigate the stormy seas of sexuality. Denial and submission NEVER EVER solve the problem these kids are having in their heads. They’ve known of their attraction to guys since infancy, yet they somehow justify “pretending” to either not be gay, or to choose some alternate path to happiness.

    I think it’s great that they have spoken out. I think it’s great that they have the balls to confront the society they chosen to be a part of. But I don’t think they realize just how much latent HATE and VIOLENCE is in the hearts of men (and women!) This sets up some serious debate. And I sincerely hope every one survives. I can imagine how republicans are going to respond: their usual way of dealing with things is shoot now, ask questions later!

    Gayness is inborn and bred into a child from infancy. I don’t care what any body says, you will never convince me otherwise. Why? Because I am gay. I was gay at the age of 3. My father hated me and showed a huge amount of jealousy throughout my entire young life. He did everything to circumvent and chance I had of success. I left home at age 17, and immediately found a way to live amongst my own kind. It was the healthiest thing I could have done. I was able to accept and understand the diversity of the gay community, even though some aspects of it frightened the hell out of me. I had never seen a drag queen, never known a transgendered person, and didn’t understand the drug culture. But learning all of this, along with understanding and practicing tolerance of those who are different than myself. helped me create a global view of the world that makes me more aware on a heightened level that has been a super strength of mine every since. RELIGION is the problem. RELIGION has NEVER been able to solve anything, nor has it ever been able to answer the real questions such as “is the world flat? Why do we have an inquisition? Why do we need a Holy Roman Emperor? Why do we kill witches?” The answer to these questions is quite simple, really. Just kill them all. Torture them, if it makes you get excited. Watch them die a long, painful death that nobody should ever have to deal with. This, my friends, is exactly the way the Mormons are going to handle this most recent problem. The church won’t do it themselves. Oh no. They hire professionals to do it for them. Quietly, Unnoticed. Or else they haunt them 24/7 until they have no choice in the matter but to kill themselves. Sadly, Mormonism isn’t the only religion that handles things this way. Just ask Rick Santorum what he would do with a gaggle of homosexuals. His answer? Hang em by the balls from the highest rafters in the nation, and force out people to see them hanging, so that all will know the wrath of the church!

    The problem is NOT that these kids are homosexual. The problem is that their church is a hypocritical mass of hysteria that always, always gets out of control.

  • randy

    @iDavid: I”m not a mormon — I was talking about what the LDS commands of its adherents.

    Don’t worry about me — I masturbate regularly and have sex with guys. Worry about those mormons who believe that crap.

  • ny

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  • iDavid


    Gotchya, the guilt free sex life of an all American gay male/natural human. Xlent.

    It’s unfortunate that some parents don’t take responsibility for having gay children, as it is in fact THEIR DNA. All kids should choose their own religion also, or opt out as they see fit, instead of being force fed born into it for life. Spirituality and religion are a very personal thing, not a cattle call as it would seem.

    I am holding out hope that Mormons come around sooner than later.

  • Myles.

    @Chuck: If you don’t approve of the way Queerty reports the news,why do you waste your time on this site?What do you consider a proper provider of news content?Perhaps the Washington Times or One News Now would be more to your liking?

  • Bale Hipo

    @djames: You’re right that the LDS Church is a corporation intent on making profits through prophets but this Gay/Bi BYU panel was decidedly a good thing. Gay Mormons kill themselves in record numbers. Having self-affirming gay Mormons speak openly in a Church sanctioned context is literally life-saving.

  • walterpc

    The author of this article said:

    “Sadly, White clarified that if he did settle down with a guy and start a family, they’d all attend the Mormon Church together.”

    “Sadly”? Why is that sad? What better example to the Mormon community could there be that LGBTQ peope CAN be faithful members of their church, and that they CAN lead healthy, happy, fulfilled, moral and stable family lives? This is exactly the kind of witness all conservative Christian churches need. What better example of genuine “family values” could you ask for?

Comments are closed.