Nathan Ivie: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Nathan Ivie is the Utah politician who recently came out of the closet in a viral Facebook post. The 40-year-old Utah County Commissioner says he wants others to learn from his experience and to remember that, he says, “It’s OK to be different, it’s OK to live authentically. You can be gay and a Republican … and this widening gap of hatred simply doesn’t need to exist.”

Here’s what you need to know about Nathan Ivie:

1. He Attempted Suicide as a Young Man Because He Was Struggling with His Sexual Identity

Ivie told the Daily Herald that he spent most of his youth struggling to accept himself as a gay man. He said he first realized that he might be gay at the age of 9, but fought against his own sexuality for years. Eventually, the struggle led him to a failed suicide attempt. “It really affected me growing up, as far as confusion about who I was,” Ivie told the Daily Herald. “Because I was biologically completely opposite of what I was taught my body was supposed to be and spiritually what I was told I was supposed to be.”

Ivie told the Daily Herald that after the failed suicide attempt, he still wasn’t able to accept himself. Instead, he says, he tried to “cure” himself, trying to force himself to fit into the social mold. “I diligently devoted myself to trying to cure myself, to heal myself,” Ivie said. “And doing all of the things that society and my faith-based institutions had taught me to do to cure myself — going on missions, getting married, etc., etc.”

2. He Has 2 Children & Is Separated from His Wife

Ivie was married for 13 years and has two children. In recent years, he has been moving towards living his life openly as a gay man. He and his wife have separated, but they still spend time together and he still refers to her as his best friend. The two spent Mother’s Day together with their two children. Ivie told the Daily Herald,

“We’re so grateful for the life we have together and the kids we have. We have chosen to focus on that. We’ve made decisions that brought us happiness as a couple, and are continuing to bring us happiness as a couple and as a family, and especially with our children.”

3. He’s a Mormon

Ivie is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The 40-year-old politician says that growing up Mormon, he felt “spiritually and biologically” out of place. The Church of Latter Day Saints is firmly against gay marriage and same-sex relationships. Ivie says that he spent many years feeling “broken” and trying to force himself to fit into an acceptable mold. But over time, Ivie says that meeting members of the LGBT community helped him to accept that he was worthy of love and that he wasn’t broken.

4. He Says He First Felt ‘Different’ When He Kissed a Boy at Age 9

Ivie says he’s been struggling with a sense of being “different” from others ever since he was nine years old. That’s when he first remembers kissing another boy. After that experience, he says, he tried hard to fit into the mold of what was expected of him. “My orientation and attractions were not those that were expected of me,” Ivie said. He says that he had a failed suicide attempt when he was 22 and then spent years trying to change himself. Finally, Ivie says, at the age of 40 he has found a way to accept himself as “a loving person worthy of love who values others and hopes to be valued.”

5. He’s a Republican

Ivie is a Republican; his district is one of the most conservative in the country. He told the Salt Lake Tribune that, in his view, Republican values don’t conflict with individual liberties. “The Democratic Party should not have a monopoly on tolerance,” he said. “I hope this illustrates that you can be gay and Republican. You can believe in limited government and personal liberties.”

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