Portrait by Spencer Ruiz

Portrait by Spencer Ruiz

Jared T

BS Business Management ('11)

Describe your BYU experience

I had attended the University of Utah before my mission and when I came home early I wanted to move away from home (Salt Lake City) and be at a more social school, so I transferred to BYU.

My mission was just not for me. I hated it and it caused me intense anxiety. I was allowed an honorable release and started at BYU as a 19 year old guy. My experience at BYU started off with a lot of people trying not to show judgment, but I still felt a lot of shame. Luckily, I used that shame as motivation to work really hard to get into the business school and eventually to land a really great job.

I’ve known I was gay for a very long time, but it wasn’t until my last semester at BYU that I even entertained the thought of coming out. I literally thought I’d be able to keep it a secret for the rest of my life. I planned on getting married to a woman and thought I could keep ignoring my gay feelings forever. As more of my friends got married, I started to recognize that marriage to a woman would not at all be authentic for me.

My last semester everything changed when one of my friends came out to me. I came out to him and started hanging out with his gay friends. Not long after, I started dating a guy I met through those friends. I came out to my family and they were absolutely amazing. I didn’t really get the chance to come out to my straight friends because I was outed and word spread quickly. A few months later I graduated and moved to LA for my first job.

After coming out I was lucky and had a great response from most of my friends and family. I never told any church leaders since I was so close to graduating and moving away.

Describe your post-BYU experience

Seven years after graduation I am so happy with the opportunities I’ve had and the people I’ve met. I’ve worked in Finance both in LA and NYC and have seen how being LGBTQ+ can be a huge advantage in the work place. I’ve met most all of my friends through being out at work. I can’t imagine how miserable I would be if I had tried to stay in the closet and follow the path the LDS church wanted me to follow. I really have no relationship with the LDS church anymore and I rarely even think about the way I grew up.

What advice would you give a current LGBTQ+ student?

If I could give my younger self advice it would be to have confidence that things will work out and to be present and recognize that what’s happened in the past doesn’t matter anymore. You have the ability to control how you react to what happens to you now. Ignore those who tell you you shouldn’t be your authentic self and that you’re not worthy of love. Lastly, even though it’s really tough to be out at BYU, recognize that you’ll make it out and things will be better!

Posted May 2018