The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office is discreetly handing out an “Allyship and Activism Resource Guide” produced by various off-campus LGBTQ groups, including the RaYnbow Collective and Cougar Pride Center; an almost-identical packet was removed from freshman “welcome bags” by the BYU administration last year. This year, the packet highlights various resources and off-campus activities, including an upcoming “Drag Pageant” and a “Gender Affirming Open Closet” where students can find clothing that correlates with their gender identity.
On Tuesday afternoon, an unnamed BYU student went into the CAPS office and found the packets on the front desk. The following morning, a student involved with the Cougar Chronicle visited the office and, upon approaching the desk, found a stack of pamphlets being cut and prepared by the receptionist. Upon asking for a copy, the receptionist gladly provided the student with a packet. The receptionist later commented that the CAPS office has a “stack of these we are handing out, so you can come in anytime to pick them up.”
Displayed on the first page are descriptions and handles of the various LGBTQ student organizations. Notably, none of these organizations are approved by BYU.
On the second page is information regarding the “Monthly Events” put on by the various groups. Included on the list is a “Drag Pageant,” a “BYU Rainbow Chorus Concert,” and a “Lavender Graduation,” a separate graduation ceremony specifically for LGBTQ students and allies. The drag show is scheduled for tonight, October 25th, at 7 pm and, according to the Instagram post, is suitable for ages 16+.
Next, the pamphlet outlines the “Weekly Events,” highlighting various BYU-Approved clubs such as the Anti-Racism Club, BSU, Tribe of Many Feathers, Hispanos Unidos, WOC Club, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Club. The locations and dates for the off-campus meetings of the LGBTQ student organizations are also provided.
Finally, the pamphlet lists various “Resources” for LGBTQ students, including references to various therapy centers; some offer to draft letters for “gender-affirming care.” A “Safe Housing” resource links students to specific housing units to provide a “space where your gender identity and sexual orientation are affirmed!” Additionally, information about gender-affirming clothing swaps is listed to provide students with clothes that correlate with their “gender identity.” Oddly, Planned Parenthood Utah is later referred to as a “resource.”
Last year, the same LGBTQ groups attempted to provide incoming freshman students with a similar packet in their welcome bags. After the BYU administration discovered the added resource packet, they were quickly removed. BYU subsequently gave the following statement explaining the removal:
“Residence Life and New Student Orientation were not involved in preparing these bags and were not aware of the contents until after they had been distributed to some on-campus resident halls. The decision to remove the materials by Student Life was based on the university’s commitment to provide support through the Office of Belonging and our counseling services and not to allow outside entities to imply affiliation with or endorsement from the university.”
Thus, it is concerning that similar packets are being advertised in a BYU-approved office, especially after the BYU administration had previously removed them from campus.
The Cougar Chronicle has reported multiple times on the various LGBTQ student groups. Notably, the RaYnbow Collective distributed sexual lubricant, condoms, and oral sex instructions at a “family-friendly” drag show this summer. Similar articles can be found here and here.
The Cougar Chronicle reached out to the CAPS office via email and a phone call to obtain more information regarding the dissemination of the flyers; the CAPS office has yet to comment on the matter. The article will be updated as needed.
Written by: Jacob Christensen
Editor-in-Chief at the Cougar Chronicle
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.