Every student faces different challenges and trials on a daily basis. Whatever struggles they endure, it is expected that a support system is behind them through it all. However, at BYU certain struggles may be looked down upon.
On Wednesday, the Department of Sociology hosted a panel to discuss homosexuality. The panel featured four students, Brandon Bastain, Bridey Jensen, Adam White and Nathan Paskett. Three are openly gay and one is bisexual.
Department Chairwoman Renata Forste introduced the students and explain to the crowded lecture hall why this panel was held. She explained how all students and faculty have signed the Honor Code and agreed to abide by it. These students, like any other students, are living within the standards of the Honor Code.
“Unfortunately people [on campus] start to form groups and create boundaries,” Hopkins said. “We need to support one another and Honor Code and commitments to the gospel and its aims.”
Hopkins said that students and faculty should look up the Church’s standing on these issues and learn about them. She directed students with questions to look up the Honor Code statements regarding this issue and go to lds.org for the Church’s standing as well.
She said this panel was designed to promote understand concerning this issue and support commitment for the BYU community, the Church and Honor Code.
The four student panelists proceeded to tell the audience their stories about this issue. Each panelist, whether gay, lesbian or bi-sexual, openly told their personal experiences. They explained how they came to decision they were gay and how they chose to deal with it. Panelists told how they came out to friends and family and their reactions to that.
Through all of their stories and experiences, one apparent underlying theme was their strong testimony of the gospel. No matter what they experienced and what they had gone through, they all maintained a strong foundation in the gospel.
“God is there,” Jensen said. “I don’t have to understand everything . . . We accept you for everything you are and understand that God is there. God loves you.”
Throughout the discussion, audience members were writing questions on index cards. After the panelists had finished telling their stories, they addressed questions from audience members. Some were directed at specific panelists, while others were general questions.
“Trust in God to find out what’s best for you,” White said. “These are things that make you special and build your testimony.”
The event proved to a popular point of discussion with not nearly enough seats and audience members overflowing into the halls. This is something that at the department plans to host again and encourages students with questions to contact them through Facebook at USGA-Understanding same gender attraction.