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Romance Culture

by Elizabeth

Being queer at BYU is like a constant heart ache. Yes, there can be some misunderstandings, unkindness, and unfriendliness to gay people on BYU campus, but the most heart wrenching thing is the Romance Culture™️ . 

Romance Culture! It’s couples married in three months. It’s posters on bulletin boards that read “Speed Dating Night, this Thursday at the Wilkinson Center!” Or, “Seminar this week: How To Date On A Budget!” It’s my bishop telling our ward, “Now men, I know the ladies are pretty, but keep your hands to yourselves!”  after doing a dance demonstration in class, it’s my professor telling the whole room, “Quick, men, ask her out! She knows how to dance!” And it is taking the required religious class, "Eternal Families," with the dull pain in your chest throbbing as you remember gay people cannot have eternal families of their own.  

I would love to learn how to date on a budget. I would love to speed date. But, I am attracted to women. Which is OK, right? As long as I don’t act on my attraction? OK, I will do what thou hast asked of me, but I feel left out of all of the dating activities. I am not unwelcomed, but I am not included. 

Boo hoo. Go cry. OK, I WILL go cry, and I’ll get over it! But then when my teacher cracks jokes and then says to the class “You all will understand when you’re married!” OK, well your words cut me deeper than a knife, because I would want nothing more than to get married. And the familiar ache twitches my heart strings again. But I smile through the pain. How would my professor know? He was only trying to be kind. 

Romance culture. Returned missionaries. Marriage prep classes. Eternal companions. Only at BYU would I feel so welcome but so alienated.

“Why would you go to BYU? Go to another school! Stop complaining!” Say the Mormons who barely veil their distain for gay people, or the gay people who barely veil their distain for Mormons. 

“I heard that gay people were allowed on campus. I read that we were welcome in this religion. I want to make God proud of me.” I respond. “I love it here. I’m grateful.” 

And I am. So grateful. So grateful to be here. But there is that gaping loss in my chest— that pain that has become a dear friend, pain that I am constantly reminded of. A gaping hole that is the perfect size for a wife and children to fill. Wife and children I will never have. 



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