Students at a strict Mormon college in Utah have come out in a very public way about one of their religion’s strictest taboos: homosexuality.
In a YouTube video titled “It Gets Better at Brigham Young University” 22 current and former gay BYU students tell their personal stories about coming out within an extremely conservative and intolerant community. The video is the latest in a prolonged viral campaign to support young gay people struggling with their identity.
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“I just felt, I’m not worthy,” says Erikka Beam, a recent BYU alumna. “I just thought that I needed to just kill myself because the heartbreak of me dying would be less than the heartbreak my parents would experience if I came out to them.”
According to data collected by Princeton Review, BYU is one of the most homophobic campuses in the country. Up until 2007, it was the policy of the university to expel students who were openly gay. Though the students in the video no longer face academic consequences for their participation, the risk of social alienation and possibly even religious excommunication is high.