I grew up in an extremely small LDS (Mormon) town in Southern Utah. Unlike other small towns mine was truly small, with a population of 150–that includes all the livestock.
It was very challenging growing up, trying to be happy and trying to understand the feelings I had about the church that had spent most of my life telling me I was wrong for the way I was living. I made the best of what I had. Only a handful of people knew I was gay, and it worked out fine that way. At least until my junior year of high school. That year I was chosen to be my school’s yearbook editor! Everything went smoothly until the principal found out I was gay.
Being religious himself, he put his beliefs before the well-being of a student. Skipping the horrible details, I went from being a straight-A student to failing all of my classes. The worst part of it all, the teacher who gave me the most problems just so happened to be best friends with my parents. This caused a huge split in my family where my mom took my side and my dad did not. I struggled with depression for the rest of the year until I convinced my parents to let me leave. So I began a new life. I don’t regret what I went through as it has only made me a stronger person.