A MILE IN HIS SHOES

New Book Details The One Year A Straight Christian Spent As A Gay Man

The Cross in the Closet chronicles the year that heterosexual Christian Timothy Kurek spent living as a gay man. He “came out” to his family and friends to learn firsthand what it’s like to be alienated and discriminated against for being gay.

Kurek chose today, National Coming Out Day, to officially launch The Cross in the Closet and has pledged to give some of the book’s proceeds to a charity helping homeless LGBT youth.

Though his parents never taught him to shun or hate gay people – and had themselves struggled with their church’s stance on homosexuality – Kurek nevertheless grew up believing homosexuality was a sin.

“You learned to be very afraid of God,” Kurek told ABC’s Good Morning America. “The loving thing to do is to tell my friend who is gay, ‘Hey, listen, you are an abomination and you need to repent to go to heaven.’ I absolutely believed in that lock, stock and barrel.”

But after a closeted lesbian friend broke down in his arms one night over her parents disowning her, Kurek felt conflicted that his thoughts were more concerned with converting her than helping her.

So in 2009, he began planning his year-long “spiritual espionage.”

For six month Kurek plotted but the project truly began in earnest while he was nonchalantly reading a gay-themed book at a café in his native Nashville.

“A guy came up to me when he saw the cover and said, ‘You know that is fundamentally false — you can’t be gay and Christian.” Kurek responded, “I am gay and I love God.”

Coming out to his parents, who were divorced, was the hardest part for Kurek, as it is for many LGBT people.

“I snooped in my mother’s journal one day after I had come out and she’d written, ‘I’d rather have found out from a doctor that I had terminal cancer than have a gay son.’”

Kurek also found himself divested of friends after his announcement, saying the thing that struck him most was the isolation.

“Before I came out as gay, I had a very busy social life. After I came out, I didn’t hear from 95 percent of my friends.”

Only three people were in on the experiment: his best friend, his aunt – who acted like a spy in the house of Kurek should his mother go “off the deep end” – and a new gay friend, Shawn, who became his beard, if you will.

Kurek credits Shawn for teaching him not to be afraid and as the “first gay person that I let into my heart.” They held hands and embraced, eventually leading to Kurek’s initial “revulsion” to dissipate.

“Early on if a guy pinched my ass,” he admitted, “I would have punched someone in the face.”

Kurek hopes The Cross in the Closet will change minds in and help bridge the gap between the Christian and LGBT communities, as the process has done for both he and his mother, who is now supportive of gay rights.

“In the end it was a book about prejudice,” he said, “not a book about being gay.”

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12 Comments

  • Ogre Magi

    Don’t trust this rat! I bet he is just another Andrew Marin!

  • RomanHans

    There are plenty of books by actual homosexuals that detail all of this. While his intentions may be good, I’m not sure why we need a heterosexual to repeat what we’ve been saying.

  • mlbumiller

    Before anyone really passes jugement, they need to read the book.

  • Hare

    @RomanHans: Because bigoted heterosexual christians are more likely to listen to other (ex)bigoted heterosexual christians. You might as well have ask why the queer population needs straight allies.

  • redcarpet

    So he does “Fag Like Me” and expects a pat on the back? I’m so glad our everyday experience enlightened you so Mr. Straight guy.

    Not that I’m bitter or anything.

  • Mjl-428

    Guys seriously. If it does open up some of these hate mongers to the prejudice that they’ve been enacting all of these years (which I doubt considering the hard headedness), then let’s have an open mind and wish him luck. besides, we all know that until you go through pain yourself, or have a strong sense of empathy, you can never truly understand the pain another goes through.

  • Provine

    Tedious and patronizing.

  • Freddie27

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  • Patrick

    @redcarpet: You SHOULD be glad that he was enlightened. We NEED allies who’ve experienced the discrimination and hate we face.

  • Dumdum

    Too bad I can’t go undercover as a breeder. But I just couldn’t live with the tacky clothes, bad hair, cheap shoes, and walk like I had a stick up my ass. I love my Kenneth Cole shoes. So sue me, I’ve had those shoes for years and they still look great.

  • redcarpet

    @Patrick: Your right, but I still resent them for having to do it.

  • JosephHill

    I’m surprised by all the anger being expressed here. This guy was willing to take the heat and experience the hatred that his community imposes on the LGBTQ Community. He deserves applause…not vilification. His ‘experiment’ has allowed him to witness for US.

    I’m reminded of a similar incident that occurred during WWII when the Nazis occupied a country (I think it was Denmark) and immediately ordered that all Jews identify themselves by wearing a yellow Star-of-David on their shirts. It is said that the Danish king, in his first public appearance after the Nazi edict, came out with the same Star-of-David patch on HIS sleeve….in solidarity with his Jewish subjects!

    I have heard it said that this story is apocryphal, but it is still illustrative of an attitude of SOLIDARITY with an oppressed–and vulnerable–group. If you’ve never read “Gentlemen’s Agreement” or seen the movie of the same title, it contains another example of a gentile posing as a Jew….and being shocked and disgusted by the behavior of his erstwhile friends when they react to his “supposed” identity…in both overt AND subtle discrimination.

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