Portrait by Spencer Ruiz

Portrait by Spencer Ruiz


BFA Music Dance Theater ('12)

Describe your BYU experience

I chose to attend BYU because it seemed like the right place to go, and because I was accepted into the BFA program that I was interested in. I also felt like it would be a safe space for my fragile self image that I had developed from being closeted for so many years. While I was there, I turned my sexuality off. I pushed myself further and further into the closet, which only clouded my relationship with myself and the church. I went on a mission to both escape the stress and to hopefully be turned straight. While neither of those came true, I wouldn’t change my decision to serve a mission because I learned a lot about myself and other people. After getting back to school, I tried going on one date with a girl and realized that nothing had changed. Luckily, I had a great group of supportive friends. I hadn’t come out to any of them, but they were still my support. This became especially important when I had a run in with the Honor Code my senior year. Overall, BYU was good for me. I left with good friends, a degree, and a direction for a career.

Describe your post-BYU experiences

After graduation, I moved to New York City. I got a job as an actor. I spent the next couple years learning to accept myself and realizing that nothing was wrong with me. I began coming out to my family and friends a couple months after I turned 27. Once I came out to my family, I found myself open to dating and the possibility of a relationship for the first time in my life. I am so much happier now. I no longer feel like I am fighting against myself in a losing battle.

Advice to current students

To LGBTQ+ individuals at BYU, know that you are not alone. There are many, many other souls feeling the same thing as you on campus. Find them and support one another.