A group of LGBTQ+ students at Brigham Young University is asking people on all Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints campuses to wear rainbow colors on March 4 to show their support.
“Color the Campus” will “support, protect, befriend, and love members of the LGBTQ+ community at all [LDS-owned] schools.”
Last year, LGBTQ+ students noticed the removal of a section of BYU’s Honor Code labeled “homosexual behavior.” Believing school officials were now allowing romantic gestures such as holding hands and kissing on campus, many students held a “kiss-in” on campus in celebration.
On March 4, 2020, school officials sent a letter clarifying the change in the Honor Code, stating in part: “Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code.”
“This act of negligence, betrayal, and discrimination has not been forgotten and still impacts LGBTQ+ individuals one year later,” Color the Campus organizers wrote in a statement.
But a group of people using the Twitter hashtag #deznat is promoting a counter-demonstration, telling people to wear or hold umbrellas to “show their support for the Family Proclamation,” according to a flyer posted on campus.
School leaders announced the posters were not school-sponsored and that they were being removed.
At BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, a reading of the Family Proclamation will happen at 2 pm at the Taylor Quad.
#DezNat, short for Deseret Nation, was introduced by Twitter user J. P. Bellum in August 2018, for those who are “unapologetic about their belief in the restored Gospel, Christ as our Savior, Joseph Smith as the prophet of the Restoration, and Russell M Nelson as God’s current prophet, seer, and revelator on the earth today.”
Since then, the hashtag has been used to demean “ProgMos,” or progressive Mormons, “ExMos,” or ex-Mormons. It is also used in posts against abortion and face mask mandates.
“Color The Campus” was organized by Bradley Talbot to remind people that, while the controversy created last year may be fading from memory, the struggles for LBGTQ+ students and faculty at LDS Church-owned schools persist.
Talbot said that he wasn’t surprised about the counter-protest.
“They just want attention and they do feel like they have some power over us. Hate can be loud, but love is louder,” Talbot told KUTV News in an interview.