Understanding Same Gender Attraction is an unofficial group of Brigham Young University students and others that released a video declaring that spirituality and sexuality are not mutually exclusive.
Samy Galvez, president of USGA at BYU, said he hopes the video headlined “I Need Him Too” will help build open hearts and minds of viewers. Addison Jenkins, president-elect of USGA, said the video seeks to reintroduce the LGBT/SSA community to the BYU community at large and to show sexuality and religion are not mutually exclusive.
USGA released the video “It Gets Better at Brigham Young University” in 2012 to raise suicide awareness and support for the LGBT community at BYU.
“Just because someone is gay, or someone is lesbian or is same-sex attracted doesn’t mean that they are not spiritual. It doesn’t mean that they are not Mormon and that they don’t believe in God,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said current events made the video’s timing more cogent. With the passage of anti-discrimination laws earlier this year and a lawsuit against Peak Joaquin Holdings, the owners of The Village at South Campus, Jenkins hopes the video will help reframe the issue of balancing sexuality and religion in terms of people and their faith and not just sexual orientation.
“We want to build a bridge. Especially at the time you are at college, you haven’t figured yourself out completely. People need to build those bridges so they can comprehend themselves,” Galvez said. “There are people at BYU who think they are the only LGBT person on campus. Hopefully this video will help them.”
Shot in Provo, the video features BYU students who explain the vital role Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ play in their spirituality. The video quotes scripture 2 Nephi 36:33 which, in part, says the Lord invites all to “come unto him and partake of his goodness” regardless of gender or race. It also quotes President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s Saturday morning talk from the October 2013 general conference.
“(W)e need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church,” Uchtdorf said.
USGA is dedicated to “respectful discussions on the topic of same-gender attraction.” USGA membership, according to the group’s private Facebook page, is just over 400. It has a leadership team of 33 people.
Jenkins is the departing publisher of the BYU Political Review. Galvez is majoring in neuroscience.