I grew up Mormon in a small town in Alaska. I came out to my parents and family when I was 16. My father supported and showed his unconditional love for me and my mother became very depressed. My mother’s depression in reaction to my sexuality became unbearable so I moved away from home to live with relatives in Utah.
Over the course of a few years my mother dedicated herself to learning more about me and other LGBT people. We mended our relationship. I made many fellow gay Mormon friends in my 3 years there. Of all my close friends I was the only one with a strong relationship with my parents, and of those friends I am the only one that has not taken their own life.
My parents love and support gave me the confidence to look beyond the internal conflicts of my Mormon upbringing and chart a path for myself. Their example led me to activism, so I could try to be an example myself and the support my parents gave me with other LGBTQ+ people.