Learn To Love Yourself - Joe Tanner

Joe Tanner uses landscape photography and traveling as a way of experiencing new cultures and to help see the world through a different lens.

“I love getting around to new places to experience different ways of thinking and different ways of living your life.”

Joe knew from a very young age that he was gay. Once, while watching the original superman with his father, Joe went up to the TV, kissed the screen and said that superman was handsome.

“I learned quickly from a young age that that, is not what you do.”

Joe grew up Mormon and thought like many others, that if he was just righteous enough that “it” would go away. After the church came out with the policy change, he felt like something had shifted and that he needed to step away. With his change of heart he decided that he should try to date guys.

“I had never dated guys before and I wanted to understand and know.”

Accepting himself fully for the first time made him realize that all of the things that he was once scared of were no longer scary.

“I have value and worth as a gay person.”

He also realized that the fears he had about what living his most authentic life were totally unfounded. Joe started to find appreciation in everything that God created when he let himself see everyone’s beautiful differences.

Joe’s advice for LGBTQ youth is to learn to love yourself first. And second, surround yourself with people that will love you for who you are.

“Find the people that care about you but first.. learn to care about yourself.”

Benjamin Dunford