Openly Gay BYU Students Seek Answers On Honor Code Change

Feb 21, 2020, 9:39 AM | Updated: 11:42 am

PROVO, Utah – An update to align the Honor Code at Brigham Young University with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ new handbook has some LGBTQ students looking for clarification.

The new handbook takes a more adaptable and “ministerial” approach to administrative procedures.

As part of the code’s update, the school removed the portion on “homosexual behavior,” which previously stated that same-gender attraction is not an honor code violation but that all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings are.

Now there is no mention of homosexual behavior.

The Honor Code simply requires students to abstain “from any sexual relations outside a marriage between a man and a woman,” among other requirements that existed before the change.

Zachary Ibarra, a senior at BYU majoring in interdisciplinary humanities, said he when he heard the news, he had to sit down to take it in.

“If felt so much like a dream. It didn’t feel real,” Ibarra said. “I have had numerous friends in the queer community who have gone to further confirm the change. They were told from Honor Code Office administrators no one will be turned into the Honor Code Office for simply having a boyfriend or girlfriend of their same gender.”

Ibarra is openly gay. He is the only active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his family.

“I have a good group of people in the queer community here,” he said. “We get together and study the gospel.”

He converted to the church in 2013, and then moved from Ohio to Utah, as a freshman, to attend BYU.

“My freshman year I was hospitalized for suicidal idealization. I thought it would be better if I ended my own life before I committed some grave sin,” Ibarra said. “I am seeing a rapid positive change in the community here, but I am cautious – to be told you can’t do something for so long, it’s hard to flip a switch, when it has been forbidden in the past. It just feels like it could be taken away very quickly.”

University officials sent a thread of tweets Wednesday to clarify the changes.

“We’ve learned that there may have been some miscommunication as to what the Honor Code changes mean,” the BYU tweet said. “Even though we have removed the more prescriptive language, the principles of the Honor Code remain the same.”

“The Honor Code Office will handle questions that arise on a case by case basis,” the thread continued. “For example, since dating means different things to different people, the Honor Code Office will work with students individually.”

University officials stressed the moral standards of the code have not changed.

“People keep asking me when I am going to start dating,” Ibarra laughed. “I am not sure. You know, I haven’t been on a date, in years… since I was dating women. I am going to have to learn how to date all over now.”

KSL 5 TV Live


Longtime announcer Lloyd Newell speaks as Derrick Porter is announced as the new voice of the Taber...

Hanna Seariac, Deseret News

Lloyd Newell bids farewell after 34 years of bringing inspiration from the Crossroads of the West

A few minutes before the broadcast “Music & the Spoken Word” started, Lloyd Newell walked up on stage at the Conference Center, like he’s done many times before. But this time, it was different — it’s his last time.

7 hours ago

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided an update on the ongoing renovation projec...

Mark Jones

Church provides update on Temple Square construction progress

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday provided an update on the ongoing renovation project at Temple Square.

1 day ago

Lloyd Newell (left) has been the voice of "Music and the Spoken Word" for 35 years. Derrick Porter ...

Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

Iconic voice of ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ to present his final program

The voice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “Music and the Spoken Word” program is saying goodbye after nearly 35 years.

2 days ago

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-d...

Carlysle Price

Elder Gong visits Brazil following floods, new projects in the works

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, an apostle with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with officials in Brazil on Thursday to see those affected by flooding, and plan new projects.

2 days ago

The fourth announcer, narrator, and presenter of the Spoken Word, Lloyd Newell....

Karah Brackin

Lloyd Newell to give final broadcast with Music and the Spoken Word

After nearly 35 years, the announcer, narrator, and presenter of Music & the Spoken Word, is preparing to pass the torch.

2 days ago

The Angel Moroni statue sits atop the Salt Lake Temple as thousands begin gathering at the Conferen...

Eric Cabrera, KSL NewsRadio

Renovation managers give updates on Salt Lake Temple

Salt Lake Temple renovation managers have given updates on the project. They come after four and a half years of construction.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Openly Gay BYU Students Seek Answers On Honor Code Change