Benny Cardullo


Salt Lake City: Home to Mormons and gays alike


As an LGBTQ+ member of the Salt Lake community, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the news that Salt Lake City was named the Gayest City in America by The Advocate magazine. Salt Lake City can feel so small, especially among the LGBTQ+ community, but this article helped me look at my home with new eyes.

While writing my story, I sought to interview people from different families and backgrounds who call Utah their home. I first spoke with Walker Boyes, a young artist who moved to Utah over a year ago. He provided a youthful perspective and insight into Utah’s art scene. I then spoke with Nicole Dicou. She and her wife Natalie are preparing to start their family with their daughter Marigold in Salt Lake City. Then I contacted Sean Edwards, who attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints weekly with his husband, Matthew. These people provided me insight into why people move to Utah and/or stay in Utah, why they build their families here, and how they are affected by the state’s predominant faith.

I had to be sensitive to not insert my own views and opinions as I wrote this story, seeing as it personally affects me and my life. To counter this, I relied highly on research and interviews as I sought to connect LGBTQ+ Utahns’ stories to the available data regarding Utah’s LGBTQ+ population.

As I listened to people’s stories and perspectives on their life here in Utah, the story naturally took shape and eventually led to the focus on family, a common value shared among many of Utah’s residents. From this experience, I learned that the story is always there waiting to be uncovered. It’s the reporters job to tell the truth in a way that is accessible to a broad audience.

As I wrote this story, I learned that Utah has the highest percentage of LGBTQ+ individuals with children, most of whom came from previous, heterosexual marriages. Fascinated by the relationship between Utah’s strong LGBTQ+ presence and religious environment, I will continue to learn and report the delicate but resilient relationships that exist between the state’s faith and LGBTQ+ population.


“Maybe a specialist is only a coward, afraid to look out of his little cage. And think what any specialist misses—the whole world over his fence.” –John Steinbeck, East of Eden

I am powered by a gypsy soul and the desire to discover the “world over [my] fence.” “A jack of all trades, master of none,” I have never allowed school to get in the way of my education as I have developed a wide array of skills and passions that have allowed me to explore and unfold the world around me.

I am most at home when I’m not at home, having spent years of my life living abroad and interacting with the different people, places, and cultures of the world (having visited over 40 different countries). I am energized as I learn from people of different races and ethnicities, social and economic backgrounds, and religious upbringings. This energy is the driving force behind my work as I strive to share the unique stories and perspectives each of us possess to unify us as a global community.

My next step in life leads me to Paris, France, as I complete my BA in Strategic Communication from the University of Utah. While in France, I will study French and prepare my application for a master’s of management from London Business School. I plan to use my degrees and life experiences to promote prosperity among developing nations through the use of co-impact sourcing and microfinancing.