About a year ago I finished the rough draft of my memoir and haven’t done much with it since. #Life. Its working title is Confessions Of An Ex-gay Superstar: A Tale of Two Closets. I had mentioned on this blog before that I was going to just blog it out and again, that didn’t really work out either. #LifeContinued. However, now it is time. It is my goal to post at least one blog post from the memoir a week. It’s my hope that these memoir posts will be encouraging, empowering, and yes… entertaining. I will also do it sequentially from stem to stern. So… here’s the introduction that I have rewritten a bajillion times. Thanks for reading!
A Tale of Two Closets
I have two “coming out” stories. I don’t recommend it. Coming out once is difficult enough but twice is not fun. Once you are out, please stay out. Your good, God’s good, it’s all good. The first time I came out in the ’80’s I was forced out by my Mom. Culturally derived conservative Christianity told her that it was ok for a mother to stigmatize and abandon her child and throw me out of the house. I was homeless, afraid, and alone. It was a Christian Drag queen that took me in, and I credit God for using our wonderful Mella (George Timothy Reed) for saving my life.
However, even though I was “out,” I was a mess. I got involved in the dark side of club/party life and had no social/coping/survival skills. At age 24, I was desperately seeking a way to become healthy and responsible. During that process, I became a “born-again” Christian (genuinely, and I still am as a gay man). However, I was susceptible to buying into a worldview and culturally derived gospel that opened the door for me to enter the church closet of “ex-gay brokenness.” This complete fabrication is code for shame, condemnation, and legalistic behavior modification.
I stayed in that stained-glass closet for 23 years and went from a shut-down neurotic substance abusing gay man to become a top leader in the ex-gay movement. After several heartbreaking years of conflict with hardliners in the ex-gay world, and the death of a friend to suicide, I couldn’t ignore the truth. The blinders had been ripped off. I came out, again, on January 12, 2015.
Once again, culturally derived Christianity taught almost all of my conservative friends that it was ok to condemn and abandon me; the very same ones that helped me find my voice and gifts. A few were loud and boisterous about disowning me, most silently walked away to gossip with others instead of talking to me. As heartbreaking as that is, other LGBT+ people of faith have rallied around me like Mella did back in the ’80’s. Plus, Momma Mella is still very supportive. We are still friends.
Most importantly, to me at least, God affirms and loves me. Always has, always will. He loves all of me, and I believe created my relational state of being. Like the Good Shepherd He is, he is with me to guide and protect every step along the way no matter how much of an asshole I act like sometimes.
Time To Thrive: Coming Out Into Healthy Community
Culturally derived Christianity stigmatizes and abandons. Grace and love filled Christ followers, run to and lift up their LGBT+ brothers and sisters. Also, when people come out, we MUST help them find the resources they need. Unlike the ’80’s we have a large number of organizations like the Zebra Coalition and The Trevor Project that help support homeless and desperate LGBT+ Youth. We have mental health counselors, substance abuse programs, issue-specific resources, faith communities, and more to plug newly “out” people into if they need and want them. I have a running list of helpful resources on this blog.
Plus, we need more of our stories to get out there. Author Diva Jackie Collins once said, “Everyone has a book to write because everyone has a story within them.” I agree and want to add my story to the myriads testifying to the fact that “Coming out” is in and of itself a miracle. Being a healthy and thriving LGBT+ person is a lifelong opportunity and gift.
It is my genuine hope that you find this book challenging, encouraging and yes entertaining. I mean I cuss in it and everything! That makes me cool, right?! My somewhat bizarre life isn’t any better or worse than anyone else, but it sure was and is not boring. The following memoir blog posts will reveal quite a cast of characters that I hope will humanize the issues from the dramatically different viewpoints I have lived out. Of course, I would love it if after reading these posts you would say, “that was the most awesome memoir EVER!” That said, even more importantly, if you walk away with a deeper understanding and compassion for the LGBTQ+ community, understanding for why some of us get ensnared by ex-gay/conversion ideology, and how to escape it, I will accomplish the reason for writing this book.
I also want to help add perspective to a better understanding of the enemies of LGBT+ equality and why Christ’s command to love our (the LGBT+
I know I am about as much a superstar as I am ex-gay (no to both, most definitely). But what I am very good at is being a smartass and the whole Ex-gay Superstar thing is in line with that part of my personality. But I know my place and gratefully exist in my small little sparkly space.
Regardless, in whatever way I can make a difference to help with understanding and help others
Being free is a good thing.
Stay tuned for the beginning of Chapter 1! I will update