BYU Students Protest Title IX Exemptions: Explained and Analyzed

You may have heard about this walkout protest at BYU for LGBTQ rights. If you have, you may not have heard the real story.

Flier for the protest

So let’s talk about what’s really going on.

This Tuesday, BYU students staged a walkout as part of a national protest called “Strike Out Queerphobia,” apparently with the goal of “ending discrimination against LGBTQ people at religious universities” by ending Title IX religious exemptions.

And you might think, ok, yeah, let’s end discrimination. Sounds good.

Well, I have a lot of questions here.

What exactly is the discrimination they are opposing?

And why does ending Title IX religious exemption solve the problem?

Title IX is part of national education law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at universities. This has implications for treatment of athletes, accommodations for pregnancy, and protections against harassment and abuse. Title IX has also expanded to include certain “equal treatment” for LGBTQ students.

Title IX has some implications, however, that conflict with BYU’s honor code and living and teaching the standards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

BYU has received religious exemption for certain requirements of Title IX to be able to operate in accordance with Church standards, such as requiring students to live according to the law of chastity, and not admitting students who are married to a person of the same gender.

This protest was a demonstration against these religious exemptions. These protesters hope that the federal government will end all religious exemptions to Title IX, so they can be treated “fairly.”

If that happens, BYU would have a choice to make.

BYU could choose to not comply with Title IX and continue maintaining their Honor Code. If this happens, BYU would lose federal funding. Of course, as a privately-owned school, BYU would still operate. The federal funding they receive comes from research grants and individual student loans and PELL grants. Most of BYU’s funding comes from the Church.

It’s possible the students would suffer the most in this case, who would have to pay all of their (relatively low) tuition without government help.

Or, BYU could choose to repeal the Honor Code. I highly doubt this will happen.

As Elder Holland and President Oaks (who was BYU’s president in the 70s and has opposed TItle IX since that time) have both reiterated at recent visits to BYU, BYU was created to be different from the world. BYU must stand for truth, goodness, and the doctrine of Christ and His Church.

And that’s what it seems this is really about: there are those in the Church and at BYU that would not only have BYU change its ways, but the whole Church.

Now, I believe most people who supported this protest didn’t really know what exactly they were doing. I feel many people joined in or supported from afar because “it’s the compassionate thing to do.”

We love our LGBTQ members. God loves them. God gives us commandments to make us happy. Breaking them will not bring happiness, and it will not build Zion.


News coverage on the protest:

Letter granting BYU religious exemption:

Read Title IX:

Article from 1970s Ensign about Title IX and President Oaks:

Read the Honor Code:

See how much money BYU makes:

BYU rejected COVID relief funding:

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