Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie is a Republican. He is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And he’s gay. And he hopes that you will accept him as he is, for all three of those things.
In an emotional video posted on his Facebook page, Ivie said he was sharing his story “because I know I need to be honest — with my friends, with my family, and with my friends in Utah County.”
“What I have to say is not easy for me, and may not be taken well by everyone who hears it,” he said. “I understand that. I just hope you’ll hear what I have to say with the same spirit I want to share it with.
“I’m gay,” he added. “That’s my reality.”
For decades, Ivie said, he struggled with his identity, feeling like there was something wrong with him because of his sexuality. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has long been opposed to homosexuality and same-sex marriage.) His struggles culminated in an attempt to end his own life when he was 22 years old.
Although Ivie said he “tried to live the life that was expected” of him, marrying a woman and having two children with her, he nonetheless felt like a “broken” person. Through his work speaking with parents of LGBTQ children who had taken their own lives, Ivie began to take the initial steps toward self-acceptance, he said in an interview with NBC News. His interactions with same-sex couples, including photographing a same-sex couple at their wedding, also “helped me realize, ‘Maybe I’m not broken.’” He has since separated from his wife, though he says their personal bond is “unbroken” and refers to her as his best friend.
“I know some people will not understand or accept what I’ve announced today. I get it,” he says in the video. “I hope time will bring these people to a place of understanding. But I’ve also learned that most people in my life are far more understanding than I ever thought possible.”