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My Story

3 Feb

One of my very good friends from college sent me a message on Facebook the other day to let me know she was worried about my salvation. I’m guessing she finally figured out I was gay? I mean—I try so hard to keep that a secret and all. [laughter from the audience]

Let’s just say that my response wasn’t pretty. In fact, I’m ashamed of the way I blew up at her. But once I calmed the eff down, I really took the time to reflect why I had gotten so upset in the first place.

I don’t question my relationship status with God. We’re cool with each other.

But this was digging up old wounds that I let heal a long, long time ago, and I wasn’t prepared to relive that pain again. But with one little ‘ping,’ I was 23 again. I was scared and alone.

After that conversation with my friend, I came to the conclusion that I was never going to tell my story again… that I just couldn’t do that to myself anymore. Every time I recount my journey, I’m not letting the scars fade.

But then I thought about it for a few more days, and if I try to silence my story and never tell it again, no good will ever come from my pain. So as awful as it is to verbalize how being the gay son of a Southern Baptist preacher has affected me, I have to keep telling people about it… because when you know better, you do better. And maybe—just maybe—somebody’s heart will be changed.

This video isn’t my entire story—I’ll save that for another time. This video is just a brief snippet. One of my best friends works for a church, and he asked if I would be a part of a video series to talk about ‘my bad church experience.’

So that’s what we have here. A video. I’ll be honest—I haven’t watched it, nor do I plan on it. I just can’t. I have no idea what kind of editing was done and what parts of my story are left, but I hope my truth remains.


Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You

12 Feb

I distinctly remember the moment I fell in love with her. I was ten years old, sitting in our living room floor, watching The Bodyguard late one night with my daddy. I remember begging him to stay and watch it with me because I’d heard it was a little scary. (In hindsight I realize what an amazing father he was. But I digress.)

I was instantly mesmerized, and I obsessed over that movie (like I tend to do with everything) until I knew every word, every note, every move. No, I didn’t want to marry Whitney – I wanted to be Whitney. I was my own Queen of the Night, dammit.

But none of the other little boys in Winnfield seemed as connected to her as I was. Nobody else talked incessantly about her outfits, her hair, or how sexy she made the “f word” sound. Growing up in that little town, I often felt isolated and that nobody else was like me. But then I’d go home at night and re-watch my new favorite movie, and I’d just get lost – and forget about not fitting in. I knew Whitney was different, too. I’d never before seen a black girl as the main character. I’d never heard a voice like that before. I’d never seen a white man kiss a black woman. And I loved it.

My love affair continued throughout high school, and I jammed to her Greatest Hits on a daily basis. I’m still kicking myself for leaving one of those CDs in my Physics book. When everybody else was discovering love and all the feelings that teenagers experience, I had Whitney. She was my escape from the sadness that haunted me every hour of every day.

And then there were the rough years – for me and Whitney. The cracks began to shatter the perfect images that we both tried so hard to show. We both faced some pretty bad demons, and neither of us fought them in healthy ways.

Well, yesterday, Whitney stopped fighting her demons. And I don’t care what her cause of death was – that doesn’t matter. What matters is the legacy she left behind. What matters is how many lives she changed. What matters is that she made a little boy feel okay with being different.

This morning I begged another man to watch The Bodyguard with me. No, I wasn’t scared of the movie anymore. I was scared of facing the fact that Whitney was dead. I was scared of seeing her back in her prime – before things got bad. I was scared to recognize that not everybody gets the happy ending.

I know what it’s like to live life with a storm brewing inside you – a storm that never goes away and is only briefly dulled with destructive vices. And I know that Whitney’s sea has finally been calmed, and her eventual peace gives me comfort.

I will always love you, Whitney Houston.

Andrew Sullivan: Why Gay Marriage is Good for America – Newsweek

18 Jul

This is one of my favorite articles! I couldn’t have said it better myself – and I always think I can say it better. The author’s words struck such a chord with me – down to my core. This is almost exactly how I felt growing up.

Andrew Sullivan: Why Gay Marriage is Good for America – Newsweek.

When straight people have PRIDE

19 Jun

Pride? Seriously? I never imagined a day when I would actually be okay with being gay – much less be proud of it. But somewhere along this long and twisty road, I learned to not only accept myself but also to love myself. And my life has been better ever since.

Let me tell you why I survived coming out (over 4 years ago!) and why I’m who I am today:  straight people, or who some people call allies.

Don’t get me wrong – my gays and lesbians (and everyone in between!) have made their marks for sure, but I’d like to focus today on the heteros who have Pride – and what that means to a gay boy from the sticks of Louisiana. And if you’re a straight person who doesn’t understand how you could affect the LGBT community or why you should care about Pride, then you should definitely read this.

This weekend is Columbus Pride, and today was the parade. And do you know who accompanied me? A gaggle of allies. Seriously – a big crew of them! Now, let me tell you what it means to me – when straight people have Pride.

  1. It means you’re proud of me. I grew up in a world where nobody was proud of being gay – or even being slightly different. And straight people definitely didn’t stand up for gay people. Think about how it makes you feel when somebody’s proud of you. Yeah, that’s what you do to me.
  2. It means you’ve tried to put yourself in my shoes and tried to understand something that is completely foreign to you. It’s easy for other gay people to “get” me, but you – you took the extra step.
  3. It means you took a risk. I didn’t have a choice in supporting the gay community, but you did. You could have just blended in with everybody else, but you chose to stand up for us – and possibly lose friendships and relationships over your difference in beliefs.
  4. It means that you care about my well being. I can tell you right now that I wouldn’t be alive today without you. And that’s not being dramatic or sensationalizing the situation. That’s the honest truth. It means the world to me to have straight people make me feel normal. You understand that I don’t want to be anybody’s gay friend; I just want to be your friend.
  5. It means that you think we’re equals. It means you believe in me and my rights. It means that you think I deserve to have everything you have.

And if you’re not quite sure how to have Pride or how to be an ally, here are a few ways:

  1. Go to a Pride parade. Seriously. It may be uncomfortable, but do it anyway. You have no idea what it will mean to your gays. You have no idea what it will mean to me. Not only will it show your support, but also it will give you a little insight on what it feels like to always be a minority.
  2. Give me a hug. Even if your buddies are around. It doesn’t mean you’re gay – it means you’re awesome.
  3. Don’t let anybody talk smack about me. If you’re ever in a situation where people are talking badly about gay people, stand up for me. You don’t have to yell at them or start a fist fight – just walk away. They’ll get the point.
  4. Don’t ever introduce me to anybody as your gay friend. Nothing would make me feel smaller or more like a second-class citizen.
  5. Be there for me. Most of the time I hold my shiz together, but sometimes I just need to cry.
At the end of all this rambling, I hope you walk away with a better understanding of how much you straight folks mean to me. And just because you’re not gay doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have Pride.

What’s my purpose?

3 Apr

Yeah, those last two posts were just to get me warmed up for what’s really been on my mind lately.

Last Sunday, I was watching an Oprah special, and she talked about each one of us having a purpose for being here – for being alive in this world.  And then she said – and I feel like it was directed right at me – “If you don’t know your purpose, then you need to make it your top priority to find your purpose as quickly as you can.”  Uh oh.  I’ve been doing this all wrong for the past 29 years.

I’ve spent my life chasing after my passions and trying to pick one – or two – or ten.  If I had to list some things I am passionate about, my list would be a mile long and include things like:

  • cooking
  • baking
  • music
  • writing
  • editing
  • gay issues
  • farming
  • cupcake trucks
  • chickens
  • farmers markets
  • teaching
  • holistic medicine
  • helping others

But what is my purpose in life?  What am I supposed to be doing?  What’s my calling?  I’ve always felt like I’ve just been running around trying to find something, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  And now I know – I’ve been trying to find my purpose.

Now, here’s the scary part:  I have no clue what it is.  None.  Nada.  Not the foggiest idea why I’m here.  And I feel like my time is running out, and I don’t want to waste this life I’ve been given.  I want to make a difference.  I want to do what I’m meant to do.

So, I ask in all sincerity:  Do you know your purpose?  What is it?  How did you find it?

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