I knew I was gay in 7th grade. At that time I only let a select few know about it, and definitely not my parents. School was a refuge for me. Of course there was some people that I needed to avoid, and that included teachers as well. When I was officially out to my parents, my mom just kinda told me “yeah we know” and it was quite simple for me.

Being out made it so I could do a lot more with my own identity. In 9th grade I started the gay straight alliance club at my Jr. High school. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my teachers and being out.

High school only bolstered my queer identity. Debate team gave me a voice and a ground for making speeches. Having an open space like that helped me become more of an activist and vocal speaker.

My friends have always been supportive, and they have queer identities of themselves. They were some of the few I initially let know that I was gay.

My family dynamics is still a bit rough. Like many queer individuals, I’ve had a problem with one of my parents. My father and I don’t have the best relationship, definitely not like me and my mother. My mother has always been my biggest supporter after I was out. My father and I have been naturally distant. We never really talk about my identity that much. He isn’t actively hating me though, we just don’t have a very strong bond.

Living in Utah and having a queer identity is quite a trip. I live in Hooper Utah which is basically a small farm town that is about 40 minutes away from downtown Salt Lake. I was originally raised Mormon, but have left the church. Being in Utah and not being Mormon is interesting. LDS dynamics dictate every day life, and that includes having a queer identity.

My queer identity has been upheld by little people in the community that help make my voice heard. Acceptance is one of those attributes those people have. Knowing there’s more of a community than can be visually seen has made me comfortable in my own queer body.