Hear these queer Utah students talk about what brings them joy

Tribune journalists asked six queer high school students, on video, about what makes them happy.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nico Ruiz, a gay student who attends Judge Memorial Catholic High School draws a laugh from his art instructor Aundraya Sobotka in the art studio, Mar. 28, 2023.

Some may say it’s hard to be a queer youth in Utah.

Utah this year became the first state in the country to pass a law to ban gender-affirming care for minors. Also, there are efforts within some schools to stifle the expression of queer identities and the media to connect with other queer stories.

(On the positive side of the ledger, Gov. Spencer Cox did sign, for the second time, a law to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.)

The Trevor Project, the nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention for queer youth, every year conducts a national survey on LGBTQ youth mental health. The survey uncovers crucial data about such topics as mental health, how youth are affected by current events, and more.

A question asked in the group’s 2022 survey: Where did youth find moments of joy?

Good question, so The Salt Lake Tribune posed a similar one — “What brings you joy as a young member of the queer community in our state?” — to six queer youth in Utah.

The Tribune put the question to Judge Memorial Catholic High School students Nico Ruiz, Mac Sibthorp and Sam Hill, and Highlad High School juniors Ki Carden, Mazzy Snow and Mason Lohrke.

Watch the video — shot by The Tribune’s Bethany Baker and Leah Hogsten, and produced by Palak Jayswal — here: