He is gay, lives in Utah and soon could become The Biggest Loser.
Layton resident Jackson Carter will sweat it out on the reality TV show and weight-loss competition, which is set to kick off its newest season Sunday on NBC.
Dubbed the “first openly gay contestant,” the 21-year-old Utahn auditioned for the show in Salt Lake City because he wanted to inspire others to be themselves, whether overweight or gay. He knows about both.
“I think the biggest thing for me, not being accepted by my peer group and fitting in, I became a people-pleaser and never took care of myself,” Carter said. “I put everyone elseâ€™s needs before my own. [I am now] aware of it and can try to fix it.”
At 21, he weighed 328 pounds. Carter decided to do something about it by joining the show. In his eyes, he is shedding the pounds like a bulky sweater, tossing it off into the corner.
Show producers will showcase his battle in season 14, not only with his weight but also with his sexuality.
“I think Utah has come a long way the last few years, Mormons Building Bridges and other people are becoming more aware of queer issues,” Carter said. “The hardest work [on the show] is not the workout. You have to deal with people who have shut themselves off from their emotions.
And dealing with those emotions can be uncomfortable.
“I donâ€™t want to do that one on one, let alone 22 million on one,” said Carter of opening himself up to the country through TV cameras.
He volunteers at the Ogden OUTreach Resource Center, which helps about 350 LGBT and other youths. The majority who seek help at OUTreach live below the poverty line, and 27 percent are homeless