My name is Leland Lambert, I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah, but am a ‘military brat’ through and through. I grew up traveling the world and loved it, experiencing all different walks of life and learning to appreciate everyone’s differences. That’s probably why I love to travel so much. I’m currently agnostic and married to my non-binary spouse.
I grew up LDS and ignored my sexuality until I was an adult. Looking back, I was definitely gay growing up. I spent most of my late teens and 20’s going to therapy off and on, praying, and all the other things I could to try to become straight. It wasn’t until my early 30’s that I came to the realization that there were several unhealthy things in my life that needed to change.
I had finally accepted that I was gay, and there was nothing wrong with it as long as I remained single and celibate. I decided that I wanted to raise my voice to let others know they are perfect just the way they were. At that point I decided that I would do a coming out post on social media. I got push back from family saying that not everyone needed to know and that if people they knew found out they might think I was a pedophile and won’t want to be around me or my family.
This, along with my bishop telling me that because I was gay, I needed to repent longer than straight people, created a huge dichotomy inside myself. I KNEW God didn’t believe that, and my bishop wasn’t being led by the spirit. Ultimately this led to my suicidal ideations leading to actual plans. Fortunately, I had several close friends who were willing to drive me to the ER in the middle of the night.
Going to the ER was the best thing that happened to me. I was in the behavioral health unit for 3 days. During that time, I realized that being alive and living true to myself was more important than any religion or person. Because I was alive, I could work towards becoming who I was meant to be. It was exactly what I needed to learn.
Since then, I’ve continued discovering who I am. Within a couple years, I found my spouse and we got married a year later. I received the best compliment ever the day before my wedding. I was told that I was the happiest I’d been since middle school. Apparently, I had been less than my normal self from hiding all those years.
I can attest that the best thing I ever did was check into the hospital. I’ve hit rough patches where I forget my true value and settle for less than I deserve. Some of these times were because I was gay, others because of work, or even lowered self-value. Every time this happens, someone enters my life to remind me that I am truly a unique and priceless gem. I’ve been to therapy off and on as needed to remind myself of this.
Everyone is priceless because of the unique talents and traits they can bring to humanity. We all need to be our true selves and show love and compassion to those around us. We never know what someone else is going through. I learned that the only way to live is to be kind and supportive to ourselves and those around us.
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This story is dedicated to helping people learn to love better, while fostering an atmosphere of understanding. When we know better, we do better.