Kris Irvin is a transgender student attending Brigham Young University, a school in Utah owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormon Church).
Irvin, who prefers they/them pronouns, is also a Mormon, and that’s where their problems begin and end.
Irvin, 31, lives with their husband, Nate, and their son, Toby, in Bluffdale, a city about 27 miles away from BYU.
They’ve decided to have breast-removal surgery, which is threatening their future as a student.
The Mormon Church doesn’t approve of gender confirmation surgery, which is typically seen as different from top surgery. Irvin’s bishop, Jake King, however, doesn’t see it that way.
‘I told the bishop that the surgery doesn’t change my sex. It just removes my boobs,’ Irvin said. ‘I’m not changing my sex. I’m not transitioning. I just want to feel more comfortable.’
Nate chimed in: ‘Well, obviously he sees it differently.’
The bishop added the decision to have breast-removal surgery could be grounds of discipline and removal from BYU.
An inner conflict
The Mormon Church has numerous anti-LGBTI policies. A recent guide distributed by the Church doubled-down on these policies. One of these policies is discipline for having a ‘transsexual operation’.
Irvin came out as trans three years ago, but still loves their church and faith. According to the Salt Lake Tribune’s report, Irvin sees top surgery as a ‘compromise’.
‘At what point do my breasts determine my level of membership in the church?’ Irvin questioned in a letter to the bishop.
King responded: ‘It’s not prerequisite that the church and church leaders accept elective transgender surgery in order to accept, love and serve LGBTQ+ members. I know that no surgery can bring you true peace and comfort in this life.
Beyond revoking Irvin’s endorsement allowing them to attend BYU, the Church could also, as an extreme, excommunicate them.
Irvin is currently 30 credits away from earning an English degree.
H/t: Salt Lake Tribune