A graduating student from Brigham Young University–who identifies as bisexual–had a Pride flag sewn to the inside of her graduation gown to protest the college's honor code against same-sex relationships.
Jillian Orr, a.k.a. TikToker @jillianoreo, said her little sister was the mastermind behind the Pride gown.
"She's known how hard it has been for me to be bi and to be at BYU, and so she wanted my outfit to make a statement."
Orr said she decided to show off her bisexual Pride in front of everyone in the auditorium "not just for me and to honor what I've done" but also to honor other students who are still in the process of discovering their sexual identity or are forced to remain in the closet because of the Mormon university's honor code.
You can see the custon gown here:
In a clip showing the construction of the custom gown, the text overlay read:
"At BYU, it’s against the honor code to be in a homosexual relationship."
"If you are discovered to be dating or just holding hands there are severe consequences."
There was plenty of support for her big reveal at graduation.
The university updated the language of its honor code in 2007 "to clarify the policy against homosexual behaviors, rather than against homosexual orientation."
BYU said at the time being a homosexual was not against the honor code, but engaging in homosexual activity was.
When this section from the honor code was dropped in February 2020, the university released a statement a month later to clarify its policy on same-sex relationships had not changed.
Paul V. Johnson, the commissioner of the Church Educational System, wrote:
“Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code."
When some users questioned why she would choose to attend a school that objects to LGBTQ+ people, she explained:
"I didn’t know I was bisexual until halfway through my degree. There are many credits that don’t transfer so you just stick it through."
In another clip, she said she chose to attend BYU because she was an "extremely active LDS [Latter-day Saints] member" and because tithing members get a "cheaper tuition rate."
She also said the university had the best psychology program in the state of Utah.
To answer an inquiry about why she didn't transfer after realizing she was bi, Orr said BYU "requires a large amount of religious credits that don't transfer anywhere else," and she would lose two or three semesters' worth of credits if she transfers.
Even though she was aware of possible consequences, Orr has no regrets after showing off her Pride gown.
She told Fox 13 News:
“I did this knowing I could lose my degree, because I wanted to be seen, and I wanted those who are going through what I went through, to be seen as well."
Her statement can be heard in the clip she shared, here.
Orr has already received her physical diploma back in January.
She has not been contacted by BYU concerning her degree or her actions at the graduation ceremony.