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B.A. English & B.A. Philosophy ('07)

I wasn't out at BYU. In fact, I didn't even think of myself as queer – not really. I guess you could say that, had I been born in a supportive environment outside the church, I would probably have thought of myself as fluid – open to all genders. But as it was I was not raised in a supportive environment, and since my sexuality didn't feel urgent, I defaulted to dating men. What did feel urgent, however, was surviving at BYU in general. From the day I moved to campus and saw a bunch of 20-somethings playing a family-home-evening game of crack the whip on their front lawn, to the day I left BYU so muddled and angry and confused that I felt like I had a chronic cultural migraine, it was never a fit. So I found people like me. Weirdos, doubters, people who raised their hands all through Sunday School but were assiduously not called on. We started meeting once a week. We called it discussion night. We met every Wednesday for five years, and we talked about everything: faith, doubt, politics, art, family. Nothing was un-sayable. And that is how I survived. I cobbled together a mind-family and said the things I couldn't say in church, in class. It was the better education anyway.

A few years after I left BYU, I met a woman and fell in love with her. So now I'm queer – not born-that-way, but queer because it makes me happy, queer because I like it. And I realize what I have now, as a queer person, is what I wanted at BYU: less certainty, more openness, and a lot more questions. Oh, and some taboo-rattling.

Posted April 2018