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Champine: Queer Students Deserve Charity and Privacy

Utah Government and Schools Force Disclosure and Surveillance on Trans Students.
%28Design+by+Kristofer+Hoon+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Kristofer Hoon
(Design by Kristofer Hoon | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Brigham Young University recently updated its Honor Code and soon after, transgender minors were forced to disclose their medical records to the state. These decisions, while separate, deeply affect transgender and queer students in Utah high schools and colleges.

All students, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity, deserve charity and privacy from Utah’s government and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Forced Disclosure

Two transgender minors sued over the ban against trans girls in sports. The judge in the case, Keith Kelly, granted the court access to their private medical records. These records detail their physical, mental and emotional medical histories.

Utah is not the only state where forced disclosure occurs. On June 22, 2023, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. handed over complete medical records of transgender patients to the Tenn. attorney general. Right-wing commentator, Matt Walsh, claimed that VUMC staff, “castrate, sterilize, and mutilate minors.” This resulted in an investigation begun by Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee. Walsh also accused staff of drugging and grooming transgender children.

The demand for medical records of transgender minors is incredibly inappropriate. Transgender minors face inhumane invasions in the fight for equal rights. No court puts cisgender children through the same treatment to determine if they can play sports. Putting children on display invades and sacrifices their privacy and safety, which conservatives claim to want to protect.

The Importance of Charity

In 1 Corinthians 13:13, it says, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” The Bible lauds the importance of charity constantly. It teaches the importance of loving others, and yet BYU continuously disregards this.

On Aug. 24, 2023, BYU changed the language in its Church Education System Honor Code. Devastatingly, anti-LGBTQ+ language returned to the Honor Code. It now reads: “Living a chaste and virtuous life also includes abstaining from same-sex romantic behavior.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints retains its beliefs on same-sex relationships. However, the return of explicit language “cuts a little deeper,” according to Gracee Purell of RaYnbow Collective, an organization dedicated to queer students at BYU.

Later in the Honor Code, the Church clarifies its views on queer students. “LGBTQ students are a welcome and valued part of the campus community,” it states. But if BYU truly welcomes and values queer students, they would not deny them the opportunity to love and express themselves. BYU does not practice charity in their treatment of queer students.

Compromising Safety, Raising Up Bigotry

SB100 passed in Utah’s last legislative session. The bill has been summed up as a “watered-down version of Florida’s notorious ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.” This description is frighteningly accurate.

SB100 ensures parents will receive all information on their child from their school, including gender identity. If their parents demand it, the bill compromises trans students’ safety in the name of forced disclosure.

SB100 lays the groundwork for further anti-trans measures in Utah. The passing of the bill paves the way for future discrimination and makes forced disclosure acceptable. The entitlement to trans kids’ information seen in bills like SB100 endangers transgender children, revealing how Utah conservatives care more about their own opinions than the protection of children.

In light of recent anti-queer actions Utah and BYU took, the future of queer students seems bleak. Their government and schools refuse to fight for them and actively take measures that hurt them. However, change is possible.

BYU should acknowledge the hypocrisy in its Honor Code and evaluate how to truly show love to its queer students. Judges like Keith Kelly — and Utah’s government as a whole — should recognize how much-forced disclosure harms trans children.

At the end of the day, queer people are people, with a right to love and be whoever they choose. Transgender children being themselves and queer people openly celebrating their love does not hurt anyone. The business of love exists between individuals and no one else.

As CBC writer Ryan E. Thompson said, “Take care with your choice to be homophobic because it lasts forever for both the victim and the victimizer.”

 

[email protected]

@MorganChampine

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About the Contributors
Morgan Champine, Assistant Opinion Editor
(they/them) Morgan Champine is pursuing a career in creative writing and majoring in English. Morgan was born and raised in Utah, and when they're not writing, they're attending concerts, exploring the outdoors, and reading.
Kristofer Hoon, Designer
(he/him) Kristofer is a junior currently studying Graphic Design. He is extremely passionate about creating art and is very excited to create designs for the Chronicle. In his spare time, he loves to play bass and go to local punk shows.

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