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Anti-'mo in Provo

by Jeremy Hooper

This latest claim of Mormon intolerance comes from Michael, a Brigham Young University student who blogs at Are You One too?:

Weston DaveApparently the topic of homosexuality is a bit much for the BYU audience and my part of our Fine Art Classes show was taken down today. It seems that censorship is favored over support and love. This really saddens me. I found out because a friend of mine went to the show and said that my peices [sic] had been removed and the show had been rearranged. While I knew this topic would be controversial (in fact I expected that this would ruffle some feathers) I never thought that they would bring it down. Also I wish that they would have asked me to remove it, or at least had the courtesy to ask that I remove it or discuss it with me prior to its removal.
These portraits are of BYU students who identify themselves as homosexual and a person that supports them. This support person could be a family member, friend or may also identify themselves as homosexual and both people may provide support to each other. I have not included labels with these portraits as I feel that labels only create separation and division and further ungrounded stereotypes. We never know who may identify themselves as homosexual and I felt that not labeling these images would force us as a society to question what it is to be homosexual.

This project for me became a journey of truth and enlightenment. I see a bit of myself in each of these portraits. When looking at these images one may see their friends, their family, or a classmates I admire the individuals who were brave enough to become the faces of this project – Thank you for your time and honesty.

Now, this is just one side of the story. There could have been technical or artistic reasons why the pieces were removed, none of which have anything to do with homophobia. We're checking on that. However, considering the current climate, how many of us in the gay community actually think that the fault lies in anything but homophobia/heterosexism? What reason have they given us to grant them the benefit of the doubt?

This is something that should alarm the LDS Church. When many folks now think of the church and its institutions, lots of minds will go right to the needless gay marriage fight that they chose to wage in a very major way. Sure, it got them press -- but ultimately, isn't it the type of attention that will inevitably serve only to depress?

Censorship Sucks... [AYOT]

*Note: We're checking with the school for their side of the story.

*******UPDATE, 12/11: "I am pleased to be able to report that my Fine Art Photography project is back on display at BYU."

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Your thoughts

Will await their version, however, I do believe there is some convention, even a legal one that photographers, even amateur ones must get some kind of permission from their subjects to be shown. Violet Blue, herself an artist, did a column on a photographer in SF that takes amateur pics of naked people..everywhere in the city, indoors and out, public places and private... He gets a waiver form.
And, this actually strikes me as a wonderful teaching tool...and or psychology experiment. Have people look at the pictures...some with the gay person on the left, some with them on the right, some on top and some on the bottom and 'decide' which is gay. Could be very enlightening.
(PS. These visual guess experiments usually end up with right handed people picking the right pictures and left handed ones picking left one, and everyone picking the top one to be 'good' and the other one 'bad' depending on how ones psyche defines those.)

Posted by: LOrion | Dec 8, 2008 11:21:51 PM

It seems that a lot of phobes are more comfortable pretending we don't exist. How can they be bigoted about something that doesn't exist? It's much easier if they don't have to hear from us or see us. As more and more of us come out in very public ways, it's more difficult to ignore us.

A couple of years ago, a friend wrote a book about how couples met and established a life together. She actually got the book published, although I doubt more than a few thousand people ever read it. She devoted a chapter to each couple. She decided to have a lesbian couple and a gay male couple included along with the twenty something straight couples. She reasoned that we were part of society and should be represented in the book. The hubby and I were the male couple.

A few months after the book was published, she alerted me to a message board that was discussing the book. Many people were very upset that "perverts" were included in a book about loving couples. They were not persuaded by her reasoning that we exist, and even if they disapproved of us, they did need to know something about us. Most of the posters did not want to know anything about us.

I really feel that things are just going to get worse for awhile. I know very few closeted guys. It could be that our paths just do not cross, but I really feel that the number of non-closeted LGBT are increasing. It seems to me that a lot of the younger people don't even consider staying in the closet. All of this is just pushing the other side to push back even harder which causes us to push back even harder. The last two months are just an example of how ugly things are going to get.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Dec 9, 2008 7:07:07 AM

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