When I first got to BYU-I in January 2015, I was committed to living the standards and being a “good” Mormon RM. Super in the closet, but accepted who I was, but still wanted to live the gospel.
That first semester, I started dating a nice, good looking young woman from Idaho Falls. Again, I was completely committed to living the gospel at that point. I really did want to raise a family with lots of kids. Still do in a way. Things between us eventually got serious, at least as serious as things could get at BYU-I. We were dating for about 3 months and people really began to put some serious peer pressure work on us to get married. At this point, she was growing impatient, and, I knew I was gay, so I felt dishonest and I made plans to tell her. I was going to leave it completely up to her to do what she wanted to do. I finally worked up the courage one night after pulling into a parking space outside of my apartment. I told her I needed to have a serious conversation, and I explained everything from the beginning, shared testimony, and made the ultimatum. I told her to pray and ponder on everything, and we would discuss. Well, she went home and not 5 minutes later she breaks up via text. I really was not that upset, because I did give her that freedom. I did not feel upset, but felt a tremendous amount of releif. It was really my moment of honesty.
But what did upset me was what happened the next fast and testimony meeting. (We were in the same ward)
She completely outed me over the pulpit during testimony meeting. That Bitch. (I am still pissed off to this day that she did that) Shared how I was gay and in the closet, keeping the commandments and how so awe inspiring I was. She wanted to excuse herself from all of the scrutiny of going through a break up. I am not the kind of person who likes any kind of public attention, and this was too far. I got up and I went home. Lots of emotions, to keep it simple.
No one else knew I was gay, or really even guessed. My roommates treated me differently from that point forward. Rumors began to circulate through the ward and surrounding people that I was doing things I was really not. They did terrible things as time went on. It got worse and worse and worse until one day, I decided I was going to move from the ward, all the way over on the other side of campus, and start over where no one knew who I was.
I was in the temple one day, because I was still worthy to go at the time, and just chilling in the celestial room after a session, and my ex-girlfriend’s mother was there. It was too late to hide once I recognized her, and she walked over to me and told me “You should leave, you are defiling the Temple. Gay people are not allowed here.” I began to cry and she walked out. That ended up being the very last time I went to the temple.
Moving seemed to help. I had a really good, close, tight knit group of friends that formed. One of the greatest pieces of advice I received from someone was to always be honest when asked if I were gay or not, but that it is okay not to share if you don’t want to. So, this tight knit group of mine finally asked if the rumors were true, and I told them yes. They had a totally different kind of response than what I received before. It was a response of support and friendship. One of my friends in this group of mine pitched an idea that I should just go out on a date with a guy, just for fun. I had never actually done anything with a guy before this. She set me up on a blind date with someone named S (Keeping the name anonymous) S was nice I guess, but not my type.
Then I downloaded grindr, and went out on a few dates with Z. He was nice, and wanted commitment which is what I wanted. He was easy to talk to, but I got cold feet. Z, if you are reading this, I am sorry for leading you on. That was not fair. You are married now, and very in the closet. Still think how life could have been.
Then I met C. He was a coworker of mine on campus. Wow. I didn’t think I could be more attracted to a human being. I was so stricken. C was such a heart throb. I would get nervous every time I was around him. I would say stupid things and share stupid jokes. I could not keep myself composed and together when he was around. I really wanted him to be gay but was never brave enough to see or ask if he was. One day, he found me sitting in the crossroads on campus late in the afternoon, and stopped to say hi. It turned into a multiple hour conversation. Toward the end of our long discussion of various topics, he asked me if I were dating anyone. Of course I wasn’t, so I just simply said “no”. C let slip and said, “oh good” and I totally caught it and I asked “Why would that be good?” He paused for a long moment, C nervously said “Well… I… Um… Kinda like you…” And then he started to apologize and was about to get up from the table, and I reached out and grabbed his hand. I walked him home, and we kissed on his doorstep. That was the beginning of a long relationship. We dated, and had many adventures together my whole last year at BYU-Idaho. I felt a bit bad that I was faking the Mormon thing and had a boyfriend at the same time, but it was so worth it. We even became roommates and shared a room, and shared a lot more. This relationship taught me that I could have so much more in life than I ever dreamed.
I wanted to move back to my home state of Texas to find work once I graduated, and C had other plans, so we decided to break up, on good terms. C, if you are out there and reading this, I miss you! You are in medical school now, and have moved on with someone else. I’m glad to see you are happy.
Once I got home I officially came out to my family, which was way easier than I thought would be. I had tasted what it was like to be myself, and my mind was resolute. I knew my parents were upset about it, and I just did not care. I decided to make peace with the Church, and was excommunicated.
I wish I had come out earlier. I wish I had decided to live this way earlier. I regret trying to live a life that was not true to me. It caused too much pain. I will forever feel regret for any amount of shame I put on myself. I learned that I really don’t care what people think anymore. Some people will inevitably be nasty, but most will be good.
One piece of advice for anyone out there struggling to come to terms with the universe. Always be honest with others, if they ask. When someone asks you if you are gay, always be honest. It is probably someone who cares, and who wants you to know that they care about you. If they are asking, they are probably already prepared for you to say yes, so just be honest, and have those hard conversations with those who love you enough to ask.
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Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming Out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult to hear while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Still, coming out is never easy and more often than not we draw inspiration from others through their stories. We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive. We invite you to share yours now.