Coming Out At 40, GOP County Commissioner Says “I Get To Be Myself”

A Republican county commissioner in Utah came out as gay to his constituents via social media video on Wednesday.

A Republican county commissioner in Utah came out as gay to his constituents via social media video on Wednesday.

“There’s no easy way to say this, I might as well just jump up and say it — I’m gay,” said Nathan Ivie in the video. “That’s my reality, and that’s what I need to talk to you about today.”

Ivie, a 40-year-old horse trainer, says he shared his first kiss with a boy when he was 9, survived a suicide attempt at 22, and has spent most of his life trying to come to terms with who he is.

“I diligently devoted myself to trying to cure myself, to heal myself,” said the soft-spoken LDS church member. “And doing all of the things that society and my faith-based institutions had taught me to do to cure myself — going on missions, getting married, etc., etc.”

He also shared that while he’s amicably separated from his wife of 13 years, he still considers her his best friend. And the couple are committed to raising their two children together.

In an interview, Ivie told local newspaper The Herald Extra his coming out was the result of a few factors.

First, he wants “the 22-year-old version of himself” out there to know things will be ok.

“Obviously we have a problem in our community, especially in the LGBT community, of suicide,” he shared. “As someone who’s been there and pulled the trigger once: don’t.”

He also says that seeing two men holding hands on a river trail in Boise deeply affected him.

“It was just two regular human beings who loved each other who were walking holding hands as an intimate, caring couple, and that image really stuck with me for whatever reason,” he told the Herald Extra. “And that was probably one of the first times in my life I went, ‘Maybe I’m not screwed up. Maybe I’m not broken.’”

And last year, he found himself threatening to pull county funding for Provo’s Freedom Festival if LGBTQ groups weren’t allowed to participate in the annual 4th of July parade.

One of those groups was Encircle, a Provo nonprofit which works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth.

Ivie told the Herald Extrait was a difficult balancing act during that time advocating for Encircle and the other LGBTQ groups not to use the words, “Because I know.”

Openly gay former state Sen. Jim Dabakis took to Twitter to call Ivie an “ally.” Dabakis also sent a message to the county commissioner, “Welcome to an honest life, Nathan.”

Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor, also tweeted her support:

The first-term county commissioner, elected in 2016 in a staunchly conservative county, says that reaction to his announcement has been positive and that his coming out does not affect his view on conservative politics.

“The Democratic Party should not have a monopoly on tolerance,” said Ivie. “I hope this illustrates that you can be gay and Republican. You can believe in limited government and personal liberties.”

Ivie does have one piece of advice for young LGBTQs who may be struggling with who they are.

“One of my favorite reminders is that a flower doesn’t need to be reminded it’s a flower, it just blooms,” he said. “Just bloom. Just be who you are and don’t fear that. Discover it, let it happen.”

Mormon Valedictorian Who Came Out At Graduation Sits Down With Ellen

Matthew Easton, who recently came out during his commencement speech as valedictorian at Brigham Young University, sat down with Ellen DeGeneres today to talk about what inspired him to make his announcement.
Matthew Easton chats with Ellen DeGeneres (screen capture)

Matthew Easton, who recently came out during his commencement speech as valedictorian at Brigham Young University, sat down with Ellen DeGeneres today to talk about what inspired him to make his announcement.

“It’s something I’ve been wrestling with my whole life,” said the newly-minted graduate. “Ultimately, I decided there’s no better place to do it than here.”

“I thought, I’m ready, this is a new chapter of my life,” he continued. “I’m graduating, and I want to live more authentically, more honestly.”

“More than that, I want to give visibility to the other students who are gay who maybe aren’t so ready to come out,” he added.

Easton also shared the meaning of the white sash he wore during his speech. Called a ‘stole of honor,’ the sash allowed him to honor someone in particular. Easton chose a former classmate named Harry Fisher, who committed suicide his senior year after coming out.

“It was his last semester, and he was in sort of the same situation that I was, and he decided to come out on Facebook, and because of the rhetoric and the response that he got from our community, he actually ended up committing suicide,” he shared.

“He sat right in front of me,” he added, growing emotional. “And I thought, ‘Is that my future? Is that what I’m headed toward?’ So I thought, maybe if I came out at graduation, maybe a student like me, a freshman, could say, ‘No, my future’s something brighter, something better.’”

“We can succeed, we can do what we want, and accomplish our dreams,” he concluded. “So, that’s why I chose to come out there.”

“It’s all about visibility,” Ellen quietly replied. “A lot of times some people want to keep us quiet.”

Speaking of keeping quiet, Easton shared his plan to come out with his dad the night before the graduation ceremony. He asked his father if it might upset people. His dad had the right answer.

“Matt, if people have a problem with what you’re going to say, it’s a problem with them, not with you,” Easton recounted. “We love you, we’re here for you, and that’s all that matters.”

“That’s a good dad,” said Ellen.

With his studies in political science now complete, Easton says he’d like to make it out to Washington D.C. someday.

But for now, he has an internship lined up in Salt Lake City. And having come out, he says he’d really like to get involved with the LGBTQ community there.

“For a long time, I’ve been really afraid and scared to participate, and now’s my time to shine,” he announced. “I’m ready to live authentically and I want to get involved.”

Good for Easton. Many closeted Mormon gays take much longer to get to accepting their authentic self.

It looks like he’ll be able to take some time to do just that as Ellen’s connections at Shutterfly wrote a big, fat check for $10,000 for Easton to start his next chapter.

Watch the interview below.

New TLC Special: “My Husband’s Not Gay”

This January TLC Network will debut a new special that follows four men who are attracted to men but look to marry women:

The show focuses on three married couples: Jeff and Tanya, Pret and Megan, and Curtis and Tera. Joining the cast is 35-year-old Tom, the bachelor of the group who enjoys fishing and baseball andserved as a missionary in Long Beach.

All cast members are devout Mormons belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The special will follow the cast as they navigate life while explaining to outsiders their unique marriages.

“I get a little defensive when somebody calls my husband gay,” one wife says in the debut trailer.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think we used to call this being bisexual, which is completely fine as long as the men and their wives are in the know.

“My Husband’s Not Gay” airs at 10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11.

David Archuleta to leave music for a two year Mormon mission

American Idol Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta announced to a crowd in his hometown Salt Lake City that he has decided to go on as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). The crowd cheered as David cried.

“I can’t tell you how special it’s been being able to come back here,” he told fans. “There’s no place like home. I always say that. While I’m home in front of you guys here tonight, I would like to make a special announcement that I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission.”

In LDS, it is strongly encouraged for young men to served a full-time mission for approximately two years. During the two years on a mission, the missionary is dedicated 100% to serving others and teaching people about Jesus Christ. A Mormon in mission won’t be able to listen to music that isn’t religious, and music with any romantic lyrics will be banned.