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Cougar Pride Center will start queer choir to be inclusive, welcoming for all participants

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Posted at 1:23 PM, Aug 22, 2023

PROVO, Utah — Cougar Pride Center, a group run by BYU students and alumni, will be starting a queer chorus in time for the beginning of the school year, according to the Daily Herald.

This chorus will be not only be open to BYU-affiliated members, but any member of the public, regardless of sexual orientation.

Queer choirs started in San Francisco in 1978 to provide a supportive environment and share their inclusive messages through music.

BYU student David Shill, who will be the local choir director, said Cougar Pride Center’s choir will welcome everyone.

“Just because it’s geared towards queer people and LGBTQ people, doesn’t mean that you have to be LGBTQ to join. You can be an ally," he told the Daily Herald.

"We just will not tolerate any sort of hateful language or homophobic comments or stuff like that. So, we’re still very adamant that it’s a safe space for queer people, but non-BYU students, alumni, anyone who wants to can participate,” he said.

The Cougar Pride Center is a group that advocates and provides resources for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

It is unaffiliated with BYU, but strives to provide a safe space for queer students.

“It’s important to remember the history that we do have, and also the ways that gay choruses and queer choruses have been so important as places of belonging,” said Cougar Pride Center President Macey Gwynn.

Shill was a member of BYU Singers, and said, “I just loved the opportunity to bond, and I could see how much of a community it made.”

Gwynn said many of the group’s singers grew up in or are still members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as such many participated in choirs.

“I think it’s really wonderful to bring that part of people’s childhood and people’s cultural upbringing, as well as the cultural meaning it has within the queer community together, as a place where people can gather and can be together and can find places that they belong.”