Friday, September 28, 2012

Down Underneath

Down Underneath

So I was thinking earlier today on a topic I think about a lot. Who are the other gay students at BYU? Of course, probably the more self-aware ones go to the USGA club, which I could go to if I really wanted. However, the majority probably haven’t really come out to themselves yet, still denying it, and will probably end up in some mixed orientation marriage, which will (though not for certain) end in disaster. I make this sweeping statement after reading many a story of such (so please don’t hate me). However, I digress.

While thinking on this topic, I stumbled upon some news clip that briefly mentioned the BYU gay underground. I had never heard of said ‘underground’ and didn’t know whether to be amused or not with this tidbit, or should I even believe it. Is this where other gay students go? Is it some sort of honor code breaking secret society or are they just “underground friend circles”? I probably would never even find these secret circles if they existed because I’m in an engineering major where, to say the least, gay people don’t exactly abound.

Sorry to anyone who’s reading this and feels disgusted by my writing style. I kinda jump around from thought to thought. I just wanted to jot down this train of thought and move on.


  1. There are always 'undergrounds'. There were some famous incidents at BYU in the past (70s and 80s)where Campus Police broke up gay 'rings' and 'gangs' by staking out gay bars in SLC and copying down the license plate numbers of any car that had a BYU parking sticker! Those people were then turned over to Standards and many of them expelled, excommunicated, etc. Better watch yourself! :)

  2. Your question is interesting because I have a similar question - where are the gay people in the community/county where I live? They are "underground" not due to the Honor Code, but due to the fear of being fired. In a state (North Carolina) with 100 counties, there are fewer than ten counties where it is "safe" to be out.

  3. Okay, I certainly don't know the answer, but admitting that BYU is almost certainly nothing like where I went to college, but acknowledging that gay social dynamics are similar everywhere and that you sound like me a few years ago, these are my observations.

    1. Closeted guys are not your friends. They are boring and self-conscious, and will be for a few years after they come out. If you happen to find one, do not develop a crush on them. Absolutely NOTHING good will come of it, even if you think something will.

    2. The official gay group (in your case, USGA) is probably a fairly diverse group that will understand you more than you expect. I remember being very skeptical of meeting anyone like me at the gay group on my campus. Turns out, I met my fiance there. It just took a long while to realize that he was the guy for me. Not only that, but they were genuinely friendly and very open. Everyone was welcome. All four years, I could always find cool people who were good to hang out with, and really understood my position without making too big a deal about it. I had assumed that they were all "obsessed" with being gay. Not so much. They all had a lot else going on, but they liked the opportunity to be among other gay people from time to time.

    3. The gay cabal (as I am classifying this "underground") is probably really just a group of friends who don't advertise their presence for the same reason that groups of friends usually don't. By my grossly inadequate means of assuming that my old situation and yours are the same, they probably know one another very well, and fall victim to the same infighting every other group of friends does. If you happen to meet them and genuinely like them, then great, If not, you're probably not missing out.

    4. The first gay guy I really spoke to was an engineering major, as was my first boyfriend (though he switched to computer science after we broke up and now works at google). The truth is that there are gay people in all majors. I remember looking around an economics class and realizing that I knew that all the guys there were gay. It happens. Actually, one of those guys convinced me to go into the type of career I'm in today, for which I am very grateful. I also met him through a backpacking trip.

    So, I guess, my thoughts are this: The failsafe way to meet gay people is to be open. It will help you find the gay guys who aren't closeted, but who just haven't bothered telling you yet. That being said, a group like USGA will lead you to a more diverse group of gay people than you think.

  4. When I went to BYU many years ago, there was no tolerating anything like USGA. (Actually, that was probably true for many college campuses at the time.) As a gay-oriented BYU student, life was interesting. I know I didn't present myself as gay. I tried to keep myself fairly well groomed, but I had no sense of style. I don't think I ever coifed my hair. I mean, I kept it clean, mostly, and got it cut when it was getting to look too much like Han Solo, but I never paid that much attention to it. I doubt many people would have known that they were looking at a closetted gay kid when they saw me. I don't have much faith in gay-dar. Every guy I had a crush on while growing up now has a wife and children. I know that doesn't mean they aren't gay. I have a wife and children, too. But I never had a crush on the guys that ended up in male-male relationships.

    I find it fascinating that people assume you are looking for guys to date. If a gay guy is looking for other gay guys, he must be looking for dates, right? That would definitely make closetted guys troublesome. However, when I was at BYU and quite firmly in the closet I definitely could have used a friend who really understood what it was like, someone safe to talk to. It never happened. I still have no gay friends. I mean, I have past friends who are now in relationships with other guys and we're facebook friends. Also I've recently started to search the gay Mormon blogs and made some e-friends who live long distances from me. But none of my close local friends have ever been gay, or at least openly gay when I was there.

    I eventually came out to one person, and ended up marrying her. But she's still the only one who knows.