“I’m sharing my story with you today because I know I need to be honest with my friends, my family, and my neighbors here in Utah county,” Ivie, 40, said in a clip posted Wednesday. “What I have to say is not easy for me and may not be taken well by everyone who hears it. And I understand that. I just hope you’ll hear what I have to say.”
“There’s no easy way to say this,” the Republican continued. “I might as well just jump up and say it. I’m gay. That’s my reality. And that’s what I need to talk to you about today.”
Ivie, a father-of-two who was elected commissioner in 2016, said he’s been unable to accept himself as gay since the age of 9. “I believed there was something wrong with me,” he shared in the video. “And I fought from the beginning to find some way to change myself. That battle resulted in a failed suicide attempt when I was 22 years old.”
“I felt I was living someone else’s life, rather than my own,” he said. “It felt deceptive. Not just to others, but to myself.”
“Sharing my truth with my wife was hard,” he admits. “But together, after long days and nights of confronting this issue, we’ve come to a place of loving understanding. She’s my best friend and supporter….”
The commissioner says the couple will become a “different kind of family” for their two children.
Ivie’s colleagues were proud of his message.
— Jackie Biskupski (@jackiebiskupski) May 22, 2019
My instinct is just to embrace @IvieNathan. Today I stand with him as a friend, valued colleague, and fellow Republican.
His story will provide strength and hope to those feeling the lonely despair that almost took his life and has taken too many in our community #HeartOfUtah https://t.co/sm7Iv9TI3G
— Tanner Ainge (@TannerAinge) May 22, 2019
Thank you Nathan Ivie for trusting and sharing with us about some of your lived experiences as a Gay man in Utah County. It takes great strength to come out publicly- especially as an established community leader. 💚🌈 https://t.co/FrFdVzy4ZQ
— LGBT Student Services at UVU 🏳️🌈 (@uvulgbt) May 22, 2019
Glad for the ray of hope @IvieNathan's message is sending to the hearts of those who have ever questioned their worth because of their orientation. My love and support to you and your family.
— Michelle Kaufusi (@mayorkaufusi) May 23, 2019
Congratulations to Utah County Commissioner @IvieNathan for being true to himself, his family, and his community. As another out, gay, elected official in Utah, I’m happy to welcome a Republican from Utah County to our family. 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🏳️🌈 #progress #gayslc #utah #lovewins
— Councilmember Chris Wharton (@chriswhartonslc) May 22, 2019
If all the gay men living in Utah County (and Utah) who are community, business and religious leaders could follow @IvieNathan's lead on this, we would be living in a very different Utah County right now. This is huge, historical, and hopefully watershed.https://t.co/lSrQxGdbuY
— C. Jane Kendrick (@CJaneKendrick) May 22, 2019
Ivie and his wife of 13 years will stay in each other’s lives. “We’re best friends,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “My wife is the most amazing person I know and there’s no animosity between us. We’ve never had a fight.”
And his sexual orientation won’t be political, he says, even in conservative Utah. “You can be a gay Republican,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I’m conservative because I believe in the Constitution and that it’s the government’s job to protect individual liberties. As commissioner I’ll still try to protect those things. And if you’re using tax payer money, you better be inclusive.”
The commissioner tells Yahoo Lifestyle, that he hopes young people hear him. “Somewhere out there, there’s a 22-year-old version of me who is confused, lost, and struggling,” he says. “They need to know they are loved and needed. Keep going because there’s a sunrise tomorrow.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: