Jake Gordon

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I have found in my life that learning is most rewarding when it is a topic that I knew little about before diving right into it.

That was the situation I was in when starting the COMM 3660 Intermediate Reporting class with Professor Kimberley Mangun. The beat was the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

I was naïve enough to think that the only issue that the LGBT community was dealing with was whether individuals can, or ever will be allowed to be legally married. The struggle and fight for equal rights goes way beyond just marriage.

Brandie Balken, from Equality Utah, started my education as she visited our class and talked about the wide-ranging difficulties that the LGBT community goes through. Lack of equality involves more than just marriage. Balken talked about visitation rights in hospitals, health benefits at work and transferring of inheritance, all of which are made more difficult in Utah because same-sex marriage is not allowed and marriages or civil unions are not recognized in this state.

From the discussion with Balken and taking part in Pride Week 2012 on the University of Utah campus came my first story about the struggles that the LGBT community has to overcome.

Our next guest speaker was C. Kai Medina-Martínez, executive director of the LGBT Resource Center at the U. Medina-Martínez talked about all the good things the university is doing to accommodate the LGBT students. From that discussion came my article about how the U is one of the top-25 schools in the nation for being LGBT-friendly.

My enterprise story was something that sparked my curiosity. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I wanted to see if there were any groups of gay Mormons and how they view the church and their spirituality.

My search led me to a group called Affirmation, which is a group for gay and lesbian Mormons. Starting from the top of the organization, I talked with Joshua Howard Behn, who is president of the group. Talking with Behn and others from the group, I learned of the struggles and fight as far as religion is concerned with the LGBT community.

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot about how extensive the struggles are for the LGBT community and how they go way beyond marriage. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are happy with any progress but are still looking to be treated as equals.

ABOUT ME:

I am a senior at the University of Utah pursuing a BA in communication with an emphasis in journalism. I am fluent in both English and Spanish.

I started writing in 2008 as a stringer for the Deseret News sports section mainly covering football and soccer games. From there I took a full-time job in 2009 with the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin covering sports and writing a monthly hometown/feature story. I spent over three years at the Transcript until deciding to come back to school and finish up.

While at school in 2012, I have had the experience to have my own two-hour sports/music radio show on the campus radio station K-UTE. I am also performing an internship with the Utah Grizzlies hockey team as I produce the games on the radio at KFAN 1320 AM and help with the radio duties at Maverik Center during home games. I also write a weekly article for the Close-up Section of the Salt Lake Tribune, mainly covering education-related topics for the Valley West section.

My goal would be to become a sports writer for a newspaper but I have also have a fun time writing news and features as well.