The three taboo topics in America are sex, religion, and politics. As a gay Mormon working in Republican politics, I have spent my career pushing against these taboos, sometimes by merely continuing to breathe.
However, I am only able to continue pushing for equality because I stand on the shoulders of LGBT giants who came out in an era where it was even more difficult to be gay.
I grew up in religiously conservative Utah and attended Brigham Young University, a private university owned by the Mormon Church. When, as a student, I started to question my sexuality I was removed from school.
Even after I graduated from another university, I wasn’t out in any meaningful way until almost five years later when I joined the Gayglers. The Gayglers is the name of the LGBT resource group at Google and over the course of my four years there, I finally felt comfortable enough to come out at work and stay out when I transferred jobs.
Leaders of the community like the Gayglers and Lord John Browne are championing coming out. Their example inspired me to be completely open about my sexuality when I applied to graduate school.
I am very blessed to begin my studies in the fall of 2015 at the world’s oldest institution of higher education, Oxford University. Oxford’s rich traditions provide a stark contrast to the progress we have seen over the last few years.
My applications would have fallen flat, instead of being open about the struggles I have overcome through the years. Thanks to role models, I am in a position to continue pushing against the barriers to equality in the workforce.
The Glass Closet is out now. Order here.