pizanofamily-135“It’s an exciting time in life and there’s a lot of change in the near future for me! It’s June 2014, and I just graduated with honors in April from BYU. I gave the convocation speech at the Theatre and Media Arts, Dance, and Music graduation, which was so surreal and it definitely felt like a chapter ending in my life. I spoke about the need for both love and knowledge and the balance of justice and mercy that each of us to need embody if leaders are to be effective. I feel like I’ve learned that the hard way, so it’s satisfying that I got to communicate my journey to my peers and college before I moved on.

It took a lot of grit to get through BYU, and I will always be thankful for all I learned in and out of my classes, leading Understanding Same-Gender Attraction and bringing an increased visibility of LGBTQ young people on campus. Nothing could be more vital than saving our most vulnerable from the suffering that comes at the intersection of faith and sexual orientation and/or gender identity. I’m proud to say I was part of a tiny, but important, step forward to alleviating that suffering at BYU.

Since this interview below, I’ve joined The Trevor Project as a Youth Advisory Council member. This means that I am a youth representative for The Trevor Project, the nation’s leading nonprofit in crisis intervention and life-affirming resources specializing in LGBTQ youth and young people. I’ve loved collaborating with them, and I’m honored that they named me the Trevor Youth Innovator of 2013 for my work in Utah during my undergraduate career at BYU. That being said, with all the honors and spotlights have come my way, I truly can say that nothing has been quite as humbling and beautiful as seeing my work do some good, empower my people and literally save lives. It’s a privilege and a responsibility that I thank my Heavenly Parents for every day.

I’m actually moving to Hawai’i Island; I’ve joined the Teach for America corps, and will be teaching elementary school there. I’m excited to be an out gay, LDS man and a teacher in a public school; I wish I had someone like that to look up to as a student. While I’m not in Utah anymore, you best believe that I will be doing all I can out there in Hawai’i to making sure my faith and our kids live in a more inclusive world than the present one!”

While growing up in an LDS home, Adam never thought of himself as gay, though he played with My Little Ponies and wanted to be a princess for Halloween. After all, he couldn’t be LDS and gay, he thought. In high school, dating a girl felt unnatural, and when he told her he thought he might be gay, her understanding response meant a lot to him. But in college, he struggled to find a place and eventually took a break from college due to depression and anxiety. Later, through a series of events including finding a blogging community, receiving answers to prayer, and meeting new friends at BYU at a group called Understanding Same-Gender Attraction, he found spiritual validation and hope.

He doesn’t claim to know what the rest of his life looks like. He knows the kind of depth and breadth of a relationship he could have, believes God wants him to have that kind of relationship, and would like to be able to marry a man and raise a family with him in a Mormon family tradition. He loves the LDS Church, and whether or not they allow him to stay, he’s going to find his way.

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