Man Pretends to be Gay for a Year
Author Timothy Kurek talks to Alan about what he learned living a year as a gay man.
- Duration 17:40
- Date Oct 16, 2012
Author Timothy Kurek talks to Alan about what he learned living a year as a gay man.
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This transcript is automatically generated
I'm going to look at Timothy correct he has written the book across in the closet.
Your Portland -- again.
You were evangelical Christian very conservative anti gay.
Whose views perhaps bad words for gay people think he.
And tell me what happened this is an interesting journey you've been on and when when did this all begin -- -- Decided to.
Do the very thing we're gonna talk about that that the basis of your book the -- -- -- have a story I started going to a karaoke bar several years ago and went there.
Pretty religiously every Tuesday night about six or seven weeks straight this young woman came and I had no idea that she was -- About the seventh week she doesn't Portland we hear from others is in Nashville on your nationality -- important.
And in Nashville and she pulled outside -- how can you be a Christian.
Before I can answer she said I just came out to my family.
And my dad said I'm not going to use.
Pay for the education of fact -- daughter and months and come back when your fixed if she was completely disowned by a -- -- people you're friends and they knew you were Christian -- -- -- I was you're not hiding -- the unknown on and I wasn't I wasn't in the closet as a Christian -- and you're definitely a very pronounced Christian in terms of your beliefs on homosexuality yeah yeah definitely was.
So she pulled me out time Jesse -- to be saved and told me their family.
Had this under and she'd been ex communicated from her life and my first reaction when she's crying on my shoulders not to comfort her and be there for my first reaction was to.
Com and her parents did it wrong they didn't they didn't explain the six -- in the right ways that she knew she was an abomination without feeling like an abomination if only they had told the regulation -- she was in the moment exactly exactly and then that would result Oprah and knowing that if you put an -- -- therapy and she would have been -- -- -- A productive member of the church that time and so that was -- my thought process.
Thank god before I had the chance to -- this stuff -- or she had to leave.
And down before.
Which I'm very happy about but as soon as she left.
I had this spiritual epiphany this kick in the gut that that voice inside my head wasn't god speaking to me that -- does that -- -- come from.
Just the voice inside my head that I could feel the wetness of her tears on my shirt I could.
I -- I was I mean it was it was June's it was -- and it was a very very.
Emotional experience and his I think it kind of pushed me over the edge.
And down at that point I just realized that voice wasn't -- that voice was to win at the same day was at the next day -- -- same night within minutes and and I realize -- that voice was.
Two -- two decades of of hyper conservative religious programming is an amazing one moment like that can undo decades of religious training.
Blaming you didn't undo it it just I got the what happened was I started questioning and said.
Well you know if if I'm feeling this way that I couldn't I could possibly be wrong here so I need to understand.
And I diagnosed that that programming its enemy that voice is my an affair -- so what happened after that.
It's -- -- that I I thought well you know how can nine.
With my friends my and and this this young lesbian -- how can I ever hope to.
Find out if what I've been -- in the church is wrong.
And the only way that I can think of that was radical enough was to actually put myself in that she's of the people that -- been -- -- in two.
Come out myself to my friends family and church and see if -- if the label of game -- nothing change about me but the labeled my orientation.
How would that affect my life and -- a radical thing to do -- An evangelical Christian -- straight yeah absolutely and you know and it wasn't it didn't come easy it was I was an insomniac for a week before I finally.
Pulled the trigger decided I was actually gonna go through with -- and and yeah I'm so happy I did it's been you know a life changing and it's one thing to reevaluate and rethink in and maybe spend little time.
With with -- is -- Make friends and -- was another thing to actually decide you're gonna live a so called.
And someone -- finalist and the word gay lifestyle is if that's a -- -- for a year.
I don't know and get some crazy.
In a -- brave called stupid college to deliberate whatever.
I don't know what what it was dead.
Just showed me that I had no other option I had to deal they you then decided because your family or you're young you're in your twenties and you're gonna come -- your mother you can -- your -- game and you're not get the came out to my mom my brother my sister in law my dad that you had girlfriends in your life over to the oh yeah yeah so you know that the only thing that.
There was a saving grace for me was that two months prior to coming out.
I eight I hit such and and anxiety ridden depression so to -- I was so nervous about what was about to happen.
My sleeping was erratic -- was -- As the second I came out I felt like I was past the point in their returns I instantly calmed down.
So when I told them and they saw how calm I was there like all that was what was bothering him all along.
Went with the did you have any guilt about the idea that you kind of leading your family on about something that really is an idea absolutely that was the hardest part of everything I -- I remember.
When I came out to my -- to my brother and sister in law -- -- to them first.
I was so unnerved by the experience I had to go outside and throw up and -- was the first time I've ever been so.
Nervous or so emotionally -- that I I became as -- other hand.
You know my family down and your mother is -- Mandela goes well -- of all of them album.
-- day they were loving to me but they -- -- a process my mom Arab.
A read my mom's journal from the day came out a few days later and she had written in -- journal that she'd rather.
-- from a doctor that she had terminal cancer in three months to live and had to have -- become the club when of that area.
That crushed me.
That -- -- not to her defense she's she's definitely come around she's an Alan mills VT community now so now you then went to advance apparently your first gay dance my first day I did it to dance club about -- by yourself.
Yes but myself.
Yet and that's courageous -- right.
It was donated if you could face guy could evangelical Christian he just come out.
-- when you're straight and you don't it would investigate and probably gotten the idea you not I was way -- win over my head.
-- in the second I got there I was over at the -- and grabbed a beer and I had and a guy just lock eyes on me and he came and pulled me under the dance floor and shirtless and do what do you feel like it is incredibly attractive -- yeah no I've never had so much confidence in myself in my life is truth when it came out of the closet.
And a so so how did you handle.
Well I didn't know what I was gonna -- I kind of freaked out as I was thinking in my -- -- smoke a cigarette after this -- -- -- punch him in the face.
I have just leaving running out and realizing man I've gotten into deep way too fast so they give -- gay sex no -- -- I'm -- here's the thing the book.
Is not about.
Being game it's about the label of -- and it's about my journey from a can being conservative evangelical to being a progressive.
You had a beard in the very sense of the word yet again -- -- yes.
Talk about the word beard Red -- but I.
-- after that Freddie yours -- that first night he was one of my only acquaintances that was gay I asked him I and asked -- to dinner and asked them I told him about the experiment I said hey I really.
I -- over my head he said I would absolutely love to help you so he spent the year.
Anytime I needed him he would come down and help me out and he also gave me now I realized really early on that as a bull in the China shop.
I was an LG BT community thing I was -- when I was and I didn't want anybody having feelings for me here and in -- -- you have to do certain things physically to to show the -- day.
Know -- your arms around this guy I know I got real and I was comfortable Sean knew I wasn't and and he.
He was very kind in cordial and I felt completely comfortable holding his hand after -- -- and and you know and you know having leaning up against them or whatever -- he is until this -- is one of my best friends now.
-- security is I guess -- -- -- in the closet 200 doctor Timothy.
We got Wolfowitz guess we get calls before they come whenever they leave.
You know with them -- confront the guess -- -- 8774.
Gary Johnson Libertarian Party candidate for president coming up in the next hour so you lost a lot of friends -- -- do -- right you you had.
To the -- -- that -- -- your book 95% your friend yes and I.
I had a few friends that came out directly against me in opposed the decision that I had made told me that they would be there when I came back to my senses and repented of my -- But that the really hard part was.
The silence and the isolation I felt not not been contacted by -- the -- vast majority of my friends.
And it reminds -- Doctor King said in the end it's not the words of our enemies will remember but the -- of our friends that you go from being a conservative politically to being a liberal.
Yeah I would say so I mean they're there -- and -- on a number of issues as well the dad did you get dragged along and other stuff yeah I'm still exploring a lot of those things and trying to give myself time to lead in the hands of big east home but I mean it is a certain mindset I guess that maybe changes your brain in certain ways that go beyond just with a year.
Pro gay or anti gay and I think just looking at things a little bit more critically.
You know our more rationally.
Hating -- -- -- -- of the ways it's what I mean you look at the different nuances of of how men and women.
Act and react.
Flirtation between men and women has a lot more subtle flirtation with men is a lot more -- so.
In it's one of the first thing Sean showed me was.
Hey listen you know that guy looking at you he's basically saying hale went by you drink and meet you know and I'm hasn't given in a manner won't.
All of it's it's a lot more telling and -- and it seems like it's almost like -- you know and not that this way but it's more like psychic can -- -- and you can -- guys -- -- across the room and you can know exactly whether or not their interest -- whether or not.
You you know they just wanna be friends or talk.
And -- and -- -- still you know obviously I'm not -- so it's not an expert in those things but you know I learned relief.
And I really quickly had to recognize -- the problem being gay is it's an easier now that there's an online community.
But here in -- social situation you -- you presume people are straight nicely don't know in the persuasion might be attractive summon him unique but -- the chances are.
Given the numbers are probably not get.
Yeah -- how do you planet of the day in the first place.
If you're in a social situation that's not.
Specific to it negates an obsolete most of my friends actually do most of their dating from the Internet.
So yeah but before the units must have been a lot tougher yeah a lot -- -- him before the Internet but in that timeframe that was a lot tougher just in general to be out.
Ex pat how do you then when this is all over go to your mother and -- -- only kidding.
And just doing it for a like a year for.
Yeah I think would never use the -- kidding me it was a very large they have an embassy but yeah she.
She actually rat remembered the book black like me by John Parker Fenton and and had read that in school when she was younger and instantly correlated to I think she was also happy that.
She's gonna have more grandchildren that would push through Hershey relieved disappointed angry I can imagine the flood of emotion yeah and I and I -- I can't even imagine what emotions you know I put them through but.
She was probably more relieved but not because she she -- they've accepted me as it gave senator except if you ride ended up with.
But in the Ellen's mom and in love -- even talks about how her first reaction -- coming out way back when was.
Thinking about oh I'm not going to be able to announce her wedding in the newspaper and that's when you hand them -- yeah yeah I think that but I it's tough enough for apparent than here.
I did their child is gay and -- -- anti gay but because they know that the child is gonna have these are societal issues to deal with that agenda have to go back there while I'm really not -- -- -- that.
Now I can just it's -- -- playing with somebody's yeah yeah and I understand -- totally -- thankfully they were there were all relieved forgiving.
-- and they I think for the most part -- -- when I was able to explain why did it you know but LG BT folks there in the closet are.
Effectively trapped and are unable to be themselves and be honest in their their -- -- going through more awake till I'm straight again I don't know I mean it was I mean.
I don't know it was I always had that time frame which is why you know I said I'm no expert.
At all and LG BT.
The LG BT life because I was like looking at their debt ceiling of the Sistine Chapel through hold the size of key hole.
You know I've I've barely got a glimpse well -- the hardest part for him.
Being in the closet absolutely it would take for granted -- that is just being in the closet as a strait yeah yeah absolutely that was I don't know if anybody else has done that happened.
-- and it as straight people we take for granted the fact that we can just you walking on the produce aisle to grocery store and -- and love of our life.
When you're in the closet you don't have that option -- if you're always thinking about what you could -- where there revenue met along the way and then here it's a violent which I can absolutely.
And and anyone ago likely just to distance on the -- you know not really you know now and you know I did indeed I had opportunities and I never did that because I didn't want -- pervert the sanctity of the an experiment in I I didn't wanna put myself in a more comfortable position and I wanted to feel every.
Everything that possibly could.
You know and as I said I still only have you know a very small look but I I feel like it was just enough.
To really change my heart and -- within a minute you fan boy if I really were -- it is really an attractive guy that's gonna -- for no you know I I read a chapter in the book called.
I kissed a boy and I didn't like it.
And I finally after eight months of the experiment I allowed my pretend boyfriend -- me and we -- out and and I mean it was when you -- key issue I mean -- kiss me on the lips -- and it was.
Instantly within -- -- hit in early Wednesday a soul kiss with a that the it was sold -- now I hope and I love the guy with all my heart and and I know he loves me but.
He and know when you know that you are you know you're sexuality in -- of that -- duty.
Well you know honestly I mean it was it it didn't do anything it -- it.
Scared me off a little bit you know I that.
I had to recover from that -- -- -- it I'd imagine it's the same is a lot of my gay friends if they were trying to it's warm and so.
Let's go to -- Salt Lake City hello Andrew.
Are you there.
All right Andrew.
Mean and or dangerous.
What do you want other people to know about this what is it did you.
Would love your former evangelical friends to know having gone through in the book all ended up being.
67 months into the experiment I win and attended a church in Nashville and found myself I hadn't confronted our conquered my prejudice or -- my bigotry and only -- the object of it back to that.
To the church so I think that the big point is.
-- -- it's really easy to hate those that are different from us or to shun them more to isolate ourselves and our own social spheres our own bubbles and so in.
You can believe whatever you want to believe.
As long as you're not a jerk about it to the -- you don't believe the same thing right so.
I can him what -- religious belief now is you have you changed a viewer of Christian you're.
More solid in my in my Christian faith than I ever have been in my life and you and I think the reason for that is that.
My faith became my faith is opposed to the fate that was -- -- usual aggression oh absolutely yeah.
And using your different -- -- Christian I would definitely there's in and there's a group on FaceBook that -- its its deal with called.
The Christian left on and that that a 100000 plus people.
But yet no I I think that.
I I've tried to it.
The politics it was we were listen to Rush Limbaugh every day for hours and hours and hours and enough of these different you know.
New shows and and my mom was just addicted to all that but creating a little love -- -- his right wing stuff.
-- surely -- unilateral adjustments and he himself not that.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- A lot of -- I've nothing is as.
Perplexed me more than watching Romney stand -- at Liberty University give the commencement address at graduation and get a standing ovation from.
An audience that 99.9.
9% of them thought he was -- is a cult member that's going to hell did you hear a lot of bigotry or church.
And the church is going about it that just about gays particularly -- worst -- ever and a Hollywood was the double the Democrats were the double I mean.
You know and I mean to be ought to be fair to here's the -- and and the other thing is.
Just because you believe -- -- -- -- you're conservative doesn't make you hateful -- which you do with that.
And I think understanding that is -- it's it's the vocal minority on both sides that stir up -- arguments.
The biggest -- -- cross in the closet.
Timothy -- is the author of the book.
It's really fascinating I mean what you've done it I think in many ways courageous.
And that's interesting that through their people take heart from from what you've accomplished so thank you very much for being here to thank you so much for I don't know him a huge -- -- save the industry standard --