Latter-day Saint and original Studio C cast member Stacey Harkey shared a Facebook message on December 19, 2018, in which he came out as gay.
"I debated for quite some time if this was an announcement I should make publicly or if I should just quietly live my life and let it be," Harkey shares. "I knew telling the world my 30-year-old secret would open me up to a lot of potential criticism, backlash and pain . . . "
Despite knowing that he would face this, Harkey eventually made the decision for a beautiful reason: to help LGBT youth in Utah.
". . . did you know that Utah has the highest suicide rate amongst LGBT teens? Did you know there are soo many people in this community that are soo scared and unsupported that they feel the BEST alternative to living is death? So many people are living quiet lives afraid and unsure of themselves and I’m coming out for them.
"I’m coming out so they know they’re not alone. I’m coming out in hopes that at least one LGBT teen feels like they have support. I’m coming out because I have a unique position in this community and no matter how much criticism comes my way it will be worth it if just one person avoids suicide or just feels better about themself."
And this message has been met with love and positivity for the most part as friends have commented on his post:
"Thank you, Stacey. I have had several students come out to me. I have been honored to be a friend to them. You will have unique power to build love and acceptance. Blessings!"
"So much love to you, man! As a fellow queer BYU grad it's so awesome to see others being authentically themselves out in the open—and especially in your position of influence. You are so courageous, and lives will be blessed because of it."
But his message carried another sweet message—one that came from Harkey's experience as a member of the Church wrestling with his identity.
"I’m not ashamed of who I am," Harkey shares.
"A little while back I found myself at an ultimate low, praying and begging God for answers, pleading for direction and guidance. In that moment I felt so much peace and love. I instantly felt like this part of myself that I’ve grown to demonize is an integral part of who I am. This part of myself that I’ve spent my whole life fighting isn’t my enemy. This part of myself that I’ve shoved into a dark dungeon deserves light. It was the sweetest feeling and it taught me that God expects me to be who he made me to be and expects me to develop myself and magnify who I am.
"You are soo important! Believe me when I say that you are needed. This community needs you and the beautiful hues you bring to it. If you need/want to talk Please text me/call me/message me. No matter if you’re gay or straight come talk to me if you have any questions and it’ll stay between us."