“IT DOES GET BETTER! After four years of going through drug addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts I am now clean, happy, and close to my family once again. Never give up on your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. With a little hope, they will come true and we can all be happy and love life once again even if life seems hard now, it is worth it.”
Austin is still trying to figure out what it means for him to be gay and how that and his religious life fit together. When he converted to the LDS Church at the age of eleven, Austin decided he didn’t want to be gay. He was worried that it would end his relationships with his church friends. Since the seventh grade, Austin was bullied and called sexually derogatory names, before he was even really aware of his attraction to guys. It wasn’t until he met another young man in 10th grade that he accepted and welcomed his attractions to the same-sex. Austin had been in relationships with young women before then, but being in a relationship with another young man was very different and felt better for him. Austin has found that embracing his homosexuality has lead to an improved quality of life. He says people don’t stop bullying you nor do they stop shooting you funny looks but you can better cope with the hardships of life when you accept who you are. While he hasn’t been to an LDS chapel since he recognized his attraction to men, he loves Utah and doesn’t see the LDS Church as the major obstacle for young people who are gay. Instead, in his experience, relationships with peers are the most difficult part of growing up gay.