Friday, December 12, 2008

There Are Gay People at BYU

[Update] In case you missed it during this busy, busy week, the Brigham Young University student photography exhibit that was quietly taken down last week was reinstated after review by college administrators, who determined that it did not, after all, violate BYU's honor code and explained that the removal was due to an administrative miscommunication.

The artist, Michael Wiltbank, is being more than gracious regarding BYU's gaffe and the distress it caused him. As with the bloggers who expressed outrage on his behalf, he seems less pleased: According to the D-News article, Wiltbank is "disappointed" at those who criticized the removal (which criticism is characterized as an attack on the LDS Church and the school). Wiltbank is quoted thus:

"I don't have any bitterness," he said. "The whole premise of the show was to show tolerance and support on both sides of the issue. What I wrote on my blog about the removal has been construed as bitter, but I didn't think it was. I think what some said on the Internet went against what I was trying to do with the exhibit.

"If we yell out hatred and bigoted things, nothing gets better."

Obviously, the reason this story garnered such widespread attention is because BYU is owned by the LDS Church, which is under criticism from those whose friends and families were affected by the Proposition 8 campaign (which actually was an attack on the material rights of gay and lesbian families in California). Otherwise, this story would have generated only tepid interest outside Utah, the way most stories about BYU's faculty purges and academic suppression have.

Yep, once again, it's the gays who are the bigots. (Apparently, it is no longer PC to express outrage against those who actively mean to cause you harm.)

I'd like to cut through all these coded messages about "tolerance and support" on "both sides of the issue." The whole reason there was any question about this exhibit is because it dealt with gay BYU students. Apparently, "being gay" is not a violation of the honor code. Only "homosexual behavior" is--because the honor code prohibits sex outside of a legally sanctioned marriage.

Considering the LDS Church has been doing everything in its power to ensure that gays and lesbians everywhere, even those who do not choose to attend BYU or join the church, can never enjoy the benefits of legally sanctioned marriage, what cruel logic that is!

Still, they are nice photos--I love the interesting focal treatment which serves to highlight the subjects' gaze--and they undoubtedly look best without that big, red "CENSORED" stamp.

(Brandon Burt)


  1. Wiltbank has more class and insight in his toenail clippings than the whole Savage posse will ever have.
    You don't get it, BB, sorry.

  2. Bandon,

    Were you equally outraged when the artistic director of the California Musical Theatre resigned because of pressure after it was revealed he gave $1,000 to a pro-Proposition 8 group?

    Yeah, didn't think so.

  3. Burt and Savage could learn a lot from Wiltbank.
    Homosexual militants hijacked his story to further their campaign of hate against Mormons.
    In the process they got it totally wrong.
    Will retractions and apologies to BYU, the LDS Church and Wiltbank be forthcoming?
    That would require decency and character, so I guess not.

  4. Hey Brandon,

    I have lived in SLC, but now reside in Sacramento. I was a tepid no on Prop 8, mostly because of all the great GLBT people I know. But, now you and your fellow activists have radicalized me. I have two words for you: Margie Christoffersen. Tell me one more time why we should legalize same sex marriage.

  5. Brandon, Did you not read your own blog??? Wiltbank said there should be no outrage.... Nice job keeping it going so, "nothing gets better."

  6. The fag's on the left.

  7. Of course they censor it then change their minds. The robots. Is it too much for them to make a decision first before they start whitewashing?


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