BY CORKY SIEMASZKO / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, April 9, 2012, 1:18 PM
Gay students at a strict Mormon college have kicked open the closet doors with a new video that could get them booted from their church.
The YouTube video is called “It Gets Better at Brigham Young University” and features the sometimes wrenching testimony of 22 current and former students about reconciling their sexuality with their conservative religion.
“I just felt, I’m not worthy,” Erikka Beam, a recent BYU graduate, said in the video. “I just thought that I needed to just kill myself because the heartbreak of me dying would be less than the heartbreak my parents would experience if I came out to them.”
Adam White, a BYU sophomore, described how “empty” he would feel when he’d hear his buddies talk about girls.
“I was so scared because I thought I was broken,” he said.
Others said they prayed harder in the hope that God would, as a female business major put it, “please take this away from me.”
“And it never went away,” she said.
The video is part of columnist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, which is aimed at helping bullied gay and lesbian teenagers cope.
“In our religion, there is a lot of misunderstanding and ugliness about homosexuality,” said Kendall Wilcox, a former BYU faculty member who produced the video. “We wanted to send this message that God loves you just as you are.”
BYU is one of the most unfriendly campuses for gay students, according to the Princeton Review. And until 2007, students could be expelled for even discussing their sexual orientation.
The Mormon church, whose best known member is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, prohibits gay sex and marriage.
Despite that, many gay Mormons are reluctant to leave their church, said Wilcox.
“Your Mormon identity comes first and then all the other categories like nationality or even sexual orientation,” he told ABC News.
There are an estimated 1,800 gay students at BYU, a tightly controlled campus where all students — gay and straight — are barred from having premarital sex.
BYU insists gay students are welcome as long as they adhere to the school’s honor code.
‘It Gets Better at Brigham Young University’ features 22 current and former students talking about their sexuality. - JURIGAGARIN2255 VIA YOUTUBE