USGA, otherwise known as Understanding Same Gender Attraction, is an unofficial gro of BYU-Idaho students, faculty and friends that provides a place for open and respectful discussions about understanding same gender attraction, according to their official Facebook page.
Lee Davidson, a junior studying political science and the president of the gro, said that this is a gro for all LGBT — lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
“For students who feel like they are very alone, that they don’t have a place to turn to, this is a place where they can come and feel there is a safe and loving environment for them,” Davidson said.
Davidson said this gro is a learning environment for the members to better understand themselves and for their family members, friends or anyone who is interested to better understand the situation.
“When I first came to USGA, it was back when I was going through a hard time. I wasn’t quite sure who to talk to or who to turn to,” Davidson said.
Davidson said this gro offers sport for students who need a friend.
Marc Schwartz, a junior studying communication and a member of USGA, said the club was the deciding factor between him transferring or not, because he became so close to those similar to him in the gro.
“This club is a place where I know I can speak my mind and be myself without people getting set, and that’s really important to me,” Schwartz said.
Every Thursday the gro meets to discuss ways to deal with their and their friends sexuality
“We talk about branching topics between reconciling your faith and your sexuality,” Davidson said.
Davidson said he has had people come to him and personally thank him for his work on the gro because they felt so alone and had no one to talk to.
On Jan. 10, Church leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out with an official statement reading, “Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex,” according to the Mormon Newsroom.
Davidson said he feels this is what the Church’s stance has always been.
“The Church’s statement is consistent to where they have been, and the strides they have taken deal with how to treat people with respect,” Schwartz said. “I am hoping they prioritize agency over marriage in the church.”
Davidson said there may be those who choose to follow or reject the statement.
“Since, as a gro, we do hold the Honor Code and we do follow what the Church teaches, that is what we take for guidance,” Davidson said.
Along with the gros at BYU-I, BYU also has a USGA gro for students, friends and faculty to join.
Davidson said he would like people to be a little more sensitive and to try to understand a little more.
“This is a very real thing, a very real issue, and when it’s talked about, a lot of the times it’s overlooked that there could be someone with same gender attraction in their classroom with them,” Davidson said.