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Episode #329
Justin Utley

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Professional Musician Shares His Experience Of Conversion Therapy As A Gay Man

Guest Bio:

Born and raised in Utah, Justin Utley’s music career took off when he was made a featured performer at the 2002 Winter Olympics Ceremonies in Salt Lake City.  After breaking ties with his Mormon roots, Justin became a sought-after talent, spending much of his career touring as a performer at Pride Festivals worldwide. He’s shared the stage with top international acts like Dan Reynolds, Icona Pop, Tegan & Sara, Billy Porter, and Margaret Cho.


In June 2010, Utley released “Stand for Something,” a single written to inspire and motivate action towards securing LGBT marriage equality in the United States. The single was nominated by the LGBT Academy Of Recording Arts for 4 OutMusic Awards, including Best Songwriter and Artist of the Year, winning Best Country/Folk Song of the Year.

Utley is an outspoken advocate against the use of conversion (ex-gay) therapy, a method Utley experienced for two years. Now a powerful speaker at colleges and universities, Utley provides insight on issues of faith and the LGBT community.  He has served as a guest contributor on CNN’s ‘Faces of Faith’ Sunday news segment, NPR, SiriusXM’s OutQ and MSNBC. He is a two-time recipient of the FBI’s “Inspiring Citizen of the Year” award, and “Artist of the Year” by SiriusXM Radio.

Show Notes:


  • Intro (1:07)

  • Utah Heritage (4:40)

  • Justin’s background in the LDS church (7:51)

  • The need for discussions about intimacy and sex (13:14)

  • Confiding in a bishop & looking for help (16:03)

  • Conversion therapy (20:02)

  • Creating false memories (28:33)

  • Is there a spot for a gay man to be a member of the LDS church? (39:54)

  • Losing a loved one, a job, and guidance (Around 45:20)

  • Hearing what needed to be heard (51:23)

  • Figuring out where to go & “Scars” album (1:00:00)

  • What you can do to cultivate safe space & be inclusive (1:06:44)

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