Tim Kurek grew up in a household that had an overwhelming negative view of homosexuality. In fact, he claims that he saw the gay community as the "worst of what sin had to offer." But years later, Kurek, moved by a gay friend's story, decided to engage in a fascinating social experiment. He very literally gave himself the "gay" label for a year, telling all those close to him that he had same-sex attraction. Kurek is now documenting the experience in a book entitled, "Jesus in Drag."
The book, which will be released in October, documents all of the issues Kurek faced when he decided to take on a label and title he had personally derided and dismissed as evil for most of his life. The heterosexual's literary project isn't about being a homosexual, he says. And rather than serving as an effort to bash Christians or an exposé, it simply explores how being labeled "gay" impacted his life, The Christian Post reports.
On the web site he created to promote and fund "Jesus in Drag," the author documents his journey from "bigot" to understanding:
Raised and educated in the heart of the Bible-belt, I didn’t look at certain groups of people as valid or respectable. Liberals, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, I was taught to convert them all. But there was one people group I looked down upon more than any other. For me the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community represented the worst of what sin had to offer, and I treated it and them with extreme prejudice. I was a bully, a bigot, and a modern-day Pharisee.
After an acquaintance came out of the closet, and was kicked out of her home and cut off from her family, something unexpected happened. For the first time in my spiritual life I began to question why I believed what I did about homosexuality. Were the warnings we always got about gays and lesbians based off of theological fact, or conservative, social stereotyping? And the voice inside of me judging my poor friend for coming out, was that “the Spirit” inside of me, or something else entirely?
Watch Kurek explain the book and his opinions in the trailer, below:
"The book is about my personal journey out of prejudice and the people who taught me along the way," his web site reads. "This book is not a Christian bashing or gay bashing book. While I am honest about the negative things I experienced during my year involving both, I learned that with any group of people there are positives and negatives."
Kurek began his journey as a "gay" man in January 2009, after his friend experienced turmoil when she "came out." In an interview with The Huffington Post, he explained that he initially had no plans to write his experience up in a book. Instead, he was motivated to understand the feelings that gays and lesbians face when they share their sexuality with loved ones.
"I came out to everybody! My friends, family, everyone...I just knew that I needed to understand, as realistically as possible, how the label of gay might change my life," he explained. "The social experiment itself demanded all or nothing. I knew I'd have to fully engage in order to understand, so there were only a few people that knew what I was doing."
In his HuffPo interview, the author went on to detail how his family responded to his experiment:
"For the most part I was accepted, but my family operated off the Christian cliché "love the sinner, hate the sin," so while they didn't disown me, it was hard for them to accept me as a gay man. It wasn't long before I realized that "love the sinner, hate the sin" is almost as insidious as being rejected outright. How truly comfortable can you be sharing the ups and downs of your life with a family that doesn't know how to respond to your orientation? The answer is not very. It was a major eye-opener for me!"
In the end, the experience led Kurek to radically change his views on homosexuality. You can read more about all that he learned here.
(H/T: Christian Post)