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ADDED ON: 08/30/2021

‘Love is not divisive’ – Vigil celebrates BYU’s LGBTQ community

08/29/2021 | The Review

More than 150 people gathered for a candlelit vigil in support of BYU’s LGBTQ community in Salt Lake City on Saturday night. The “Bury Your Weapons” vigil was organized in response to a speech given by Jeffrey Holland, in which he condemned BYU faculty and students who have advocated for LGBTQ issues on campus. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke out against what he called “divisive” rhetoric, including a 2019 graduation speech during which BYU valedictorian Matt Easton came out as gay. He also urged church members to aim their metaphorical “musket fire” at those who oppose the church’s teachings. Many in the LGBTQ community have forcefully pushed back against Holland’s remarks, saying they endanger an already vulnerable group. According to The Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth are nearly five times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth. Historically, suicide rates in Utah are higher than much of the U.S. — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only five states had a higher rate of suicide than Utah in 2019. Others worry that Holland’s words may encourage aggressive behavior toward those in the LGBTQ community. In the days following Holland’s speech, a man was seen uttering a homophobic slur while defacing a sidewalk pride display in Provo in a widely circulated social media video. BYU has since announced they condemn the behavior and are investigating the situation. As people gathered at City Creek Park, just across the street from the church’s office building, organizers passed out rainbow-colored face masks and candles. Before the vigil, people were able to submit their personal experiences of being queer in an online forum to be displayed during the event. The testimonials were printed out and hung from signs along State Street.

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