Readers’ Forum


I stand with LeFou

In the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast,” LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick, will be featured as Disney’s first openly gay character. At first glance, I was upset at this because I saw it as an attempt to shove an agenda down the throats of middle America. However, after careful discussion and research, I have pivoted on this view and am thrilled by the choice of including a person with same-gender attraction in this movie.

This isn’t about same-sex marriage, acceptance of it or me going against my LDS values. I feel I’m honoring my religious faith more by finally saying I want to follow the commandment to “love one another.” This is a time to come together to recognize and embrace differences.

I relate to LeFou and the LGBTQ community because I know how it feels to have people wish I didn’t exist. Having cerebral palsy, I stick out and have been treated as an unequal. Some people want to shut me out because it’s too sad or hard to fit me into their ideal life. That’s how people view the LGBTQ community as well, especially in the LDS culture.

We need to embrace differences and know our world would not be ideal ignoring those who live differently. Neither I, nor LeFou, the disabled community or the LGBTQ community are going anywhere! We can’t hide these ideas or people from our children. We need to let them ask questions!

I can’t help but think of Christ sitting with sinners, healing the lepers and being amongst those who were “different.” Even He, Christ, was looked at as weird or out of the norm. Yet what He did was what we should do: love everyone as a child of God and forget we have differences. I have cerebral palsy, but it doesn’t affect you unless you allow it to. Ben Hopkins, an acting professor at BYU, once told me, “Everyone knows you have CP, Andrew. Except you. Embrace it!” It’s time as a society to embrace who we are: children of God who disagree, but must love, honor and respect each other!

I don’t know if this will change any minds, but I cannot sit by any longer. It’s time to see a movie. It’s time to hear LeFou sing. It’s time to hear a tale as old as time! It’s time to be a family of God! #StandWithLeFou

Andrew Justvig

St. George, Utah

Clean air for all

In my marketing class, a global supply chain professor visited to pitch his major to us. He had only one hour to introduce himself and his program, so his choice of words was crucial.

In this limited amount of time, he told us he’s obsessed with efficiency and loves seeing an increase in environmental sustainability. He, a wealthy business professor, chooses to drive a Vespa scooter to work and his wife drives a hybrid vehicle. Awesome.

What disappointed me is that he mentioned he gets teased by colleagues for trying to reduce his use of fossil fuels and air pollutant output. Can we stop heckling people who are trying to make a cleaner, healthier place? I don’t understand what would motivate someone to do this.

It’s like mocking somebody for saving money for a safe future for their family. One day, when they realize humans’ effects on the environment, even those who don’t bother to adopt sustainable practices will thank those who did.

Austin Taylor

St. George, Utah

Canada, eh?

Despite popular belief, Canadians aren’t Martians. When a Canadian doesn’t fit the stereotypes some people are convinced were written on the Ten Commandments (all Canadians shalt say “aboot,” eat a pound of bacon daily, love the cold, amen) they are genuinely surprised. Canadians don’t all have pet polar bears? Gasp.

It can get rather cumbersome when upon meeting someone new, you get a string of downright comical expectations ringing in your ears once the secret of your nationality emerges. No, I don’t speak French. No, it isn’t winter all year long. No, maple syrup isn’t one of my main food groups. Yes, I rode a dogsled to school, but that’s another story. No, I don’t know the blood type of the Toronto Maple Leafs coach of ’97.

Granted, I say “runners” instead of tennis shoes, and I say “toque” instead of beanie, so maybe I really am just a crazy Canuck who hatched from the depths of a frozen lake.

Caley Merrill

Alberta, Canada

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