LOGAN — For Tomoya Avarett, lighting up Utah State University’s iconic Old Main Building in rainbow colors signified change and progress.
“I’m just proud of Logan and I never thought something like this could happen here,” Avarett said. “You always want to feel like your identity is being represented and seen by people, and I think this is an opportunity to be seen for a lot of queer people in Logan.”
The USU Queer Student Association held an event Tuesday evening on USU’s quad where they lit the inside of Old Main in rainbow colors to show support for LGBTQ students at Brigham Young University, as BYU chastised a group of students last month for turning BYU’s “Y” feature in rainbow colors.
While the event was held primarily to show support for BYU students, LGBTQ students at USU said the event helped them feel more supported by their own university.
“We know of the struggles going on in Provo and at BYU and we wanted to show our support for the students down there,” said Cameron Moellendorf, president of the USU Queer Student Association. “We don’t have as many problems here as some of the students face down at BYU, but we still have our fight here with our administration and getting the support we need for our LGBTQ students.”
Moellendorf said the event spoke to students at USU because while it is not a private religious institution like BYU, many USU students and administrators are conservative and come from religious backgrounds that are often anti-LGBTQ.
“We understand the struggle and a lot of our queer students are ex Mormon or currently Mormon and they have a lot of feelings about what’s going on there.” Moellendorf said. “We wanted to show that we were here for them and that we understand. Even though we’re not there and going through the same struggles, we’re all a family.”
Emilee Harmon, the incoming Utah State University Student Association vice president of diversity and organizations, said the event comes along with USU and the Logan community welcoming Encircle, an LGBTQ youth and family support organization, onto USU’s Logan campus. Harmon said the two events together show a new future for LGBTQ students and Logan residents, and that they signify progress.
“I think this event is important for our own community here in Logan as well as to show our solidarity for our LGBTQ students around the state. That’s a big sign of support for students and community members that we’re really here for the fight,” Harmon said.
Harmon emphasized that measures of progress are not the end of the fight, but do signify acceptance and a path forward.
“It tells students that we’e not perfect but we’re trying and we see you and hear you and we support you,” Harmon said.