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BYU 'Y' lit in rainbow colors as message of hope without school approval

By Garna Mejia, KSL TV | Posted - Mar. 5, 2021 at 8:47 a.m.



PROVO – With the city lights as their backdrop, nearly 50 students and allies hiked Y mountain and covered the "Y" with rainbow lights Thursday night.

Organizers said the event was in support of the school's LGBTQ+ community. They added the event wasn't about protests, but a message of love for those who may feel isolated.

The students took flashlights up there with one simple message — you can love the Church and also belong to the LGBTQ+ community.

"They want to be seen, recognized and acknowledged," said Tayler Pace with the student-led Color the Campus initiative. "They want to be validated."

The group covered the "Y" with a rainbow of lights in support of the LGBTQ+ students at any of the Church Educational System schools.

"It's not black and white," said Baily Luck with Color the Campus. "You can't love the Church and hate gay people, you can have an appreciation, a love for both."

It's part of Color the Campus' "Rainbow Day," which was organized by BYU senior Bradley Talbot.

"We remember what's happened and we want to overwhelm the world with love today on a particularly difficult day," Talbot said.

One year ago Thursday, BYU, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, released a letter clarifying recent changes to the school's Honor Code. The letter maintained that same-sex relationships are not considered compatible with the principles of the Honor Code.

It's why Talbot said their efforts aren't about protesting, but coming together.

"Protests are typically faced geared towards 'BYU facing BYU,' telling BYU, 'Hey we want change. We want some progression,'" Talbot said. "Color the Campus is faced a totally different direction. We are looking at the LGBTQ+ community and reaching out to them."

They hope those who feel isolated will know they're not alone.

"The biggest thing I hope people get out of this is this isn't a divisive type of thing, that you're either LDS or Christian, gay or queer," Pace said. "It's I think we can all live harmoniously. It's possible."

The mountain is part of BYU's campus, and school officials sent out a tweet Thursday saying the lighting of the "Y" was not authorized by the school.

"BYU did not authorize the lighting of the Y tonight. The Y is BYU Property and any form of public expression on university property requires prior approval," a tweet from the university's official account stated.

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Garna Mejia

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