The Daily Universe, the official newspaper of Brigham Young University, recently published a piece highlighting the pro-LGBTQ group Encircle; this makes Encircle the second pro-LGBTQ organization highlighted by The Daily Universe within a few months. Recently, The Daily Universe published a similar puff piece on the student-run pro-LGBTQ group The RaYnbow Collective; The Cougar Chronicle reported on The RaYnbow Collective’s contribution to the “Pride and Progress” event where they handed out condoms, sexual lubricants, and instructions on how to give oral sex. Notably absent from the Universe are pieces on any official BYU or BYU-related clubs that are pro-life or conservative.
Encircle is Utah’s “largest LGBTQ+ youth organization,” helping youth ages 12+. According to the Universe, BYU student Jae Collett frequently interns at Encircle and noted that for youth visitors, “It’s the only place where their identity is celebrated.” Another BYU student described Encircle as “lifesaving” and “a place where they can… learn how to be more authentic in manageable and healthy ways.”
However, there is more to the story. Encircle as an organization provides services and encourages behaviors that are contradictory to Church teachings. One of their services includes writing letters to petition for “gender-affirming” surgical procedures, a practice prohibited by the Church.
Encircle also states they “do not endorse nor practice conversion therapy.” However, this phrase is misleading. For Encircle, conversion therapy is refusing to affirm an individual’s gender identity, but if a member of the Church struggling with gender confusion was referred to Encircle, Encircle would encourage the individual to proceed with the transition process in direct contradiction with Church teaching about gender.
The Cougar Chronicle recognizes that Encircle and The RaYnbow Collective are not directly connected to BYU or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, we find it extremely disturbing that The Daily Universe is writing pieces in support of such groups, especially when the groups’ services are properly understood. Encircle provides services contrary to the teachings of the Church and the University, such as writing letters for gender-affirming care. The RaYnbow Collective hands out condoms, sexual lubricants, and instructions on giving oral sex at pride events where children are in attendance. Such groups, whether connected to BYU or not, should not be recommended, applauded, or covered by The Daily Universe. BYU and Church members can find ways to love our LGBTQ brothers and sisters without advocating for such services.
Written by: Jacob Christensen and Ian Farris
Editor-In-Chief and Opinion Editor
The opinions in this article are those of the authors.
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.