Canadian Country Singer Comes Out in Music Video

Drake Jensen, a country singer from Canada, recently released a video titled “On My Way to Finding You.” In the video, Jensen comes out to his fans as a gay man since his co-star and love interest in the video is Jensen’s husband.

Jensen was inspired to do the video by the recent rash of gay teen suicides. He even dedicated the video to Jamie Huber, an Ottawan teen who committed suicide after being bullied.

Coming out isn’t easy for the average Joe, but for those who live in the limelight of celebrity, the process is even more daunting. Kudos to Jensen for making such a bold statement!

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Coming Out on Christmas Videos

Every year, gay men and women everywhere contemplate coming out to their family during the holidays. For many, the struggle is difficult and often heart wrenching as they wrestle with the consequences of letting the horses out of the barn. So for those people considering coming out, here are some videos to lighten your mood and to let you know that many of us have been there. For all my straight friends, enjoy!

The first video is from Funny or Die, and the main character is in for quite a surprise when she comes out to her family.

The second video is the London Gay Men Chorus singing about coming out to their families.

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Another Ex-Gay Leader Comes Out

Sergio Viula, who lives in Brazil and who helped found the ex-gay conversion group Movement for the Healthy Sexuality (or MOSES), came out of the closet.

According to The Flying Teapot, MOSES is an “evangelical NGO which helps people interested in quitting homosexuality.” Because of the ex-gay conversion, Viula “got married, had two children and saw by himself the very methods of ‘sexual re-orientation.’”

Surprisingly, the “brainwashing” didn’t stick. Not that anyone is really surprised.

In an interview shared by ThinkProgress, Viula stated “Nobody really quit being gay. There were relationships even within the group, between an activity and another, they would always find time for that.”

Apparently while the gays were being converted by MOSES into heterosexuality, they were heading back to their rooms to do the nasty with people of the same sex.

Viula isn’t the first ex-gay to come out of the closet. I posted awhile back about John Smid, another ex-gay leader who admitted that conversion therapy was a fraud.

Now, Viula’s voice joins Smid’s in their attempts to undo the damage they have done, but I have to wonder: is that enough?

How many years did both men torment other homosexuals in their attempts at making them straight? How much mental anguish did they inflict on others, promising that the “conversions” were valid?

Is simply apologizing and trying to clear the air enough?

For me, it is not. While I’m glad these men have accepted who they truly are, it doesn’t undo the damage they have already inflicted.

A criminal may be sorry for his crimes, but that doesn’t solely exonerate him. It seems to me that Viula, Smid, and others like them should have to suffer some type of legal recourse for their actions.

My Coming Out Story: In Honor of National Coming Out Day

Since today is National Coming Out Day, I wanted to share my coming out story. Some of you already know the fine details of this event, but there are others out there who might find the story enlightening and there’s even a chance that my story might find the ear of someone who could possibly benefit from it.

You see, I knew I was gay from a very early age. (Doesn’t that always seem to be the case?) Even before I actually knew what being gay was. I didn’t know what my attraction to those of my same gender meant. I only knew it made me different from my friends who lusted over Farrah Fawcett on “Charlie’s Angels” or Lynda Carter from “Wonder Woman.” I liked Farrah and Lynda too, but for different reasons. Farrah’s hair was awesome, and I secretly wanted to make her feathered locks my own. I also thought Lynda looked stunning in that star-spangled bathing suit. Secretly, I wanted to wear it, along with the red thigh-high hooker boots, tiara, bracelets, and that darned lasso that made everyone tell the truth.

But I just knew it was wrong. Why? Everyone around me told me so!

At school, there was nothing worse than being called a “sissy” or “fag,” and I did my best to dodge those labels like a dodge ball at gym class. But they followed me no matter where I went. After all, I hung out with girls and had tons of girl friends but no girlfriends. I tried to get girlfriends, so I could be like the other boys, and I even managed to snag a few. (Go me!) It just never felt right. Still, I hoped that if I found the perfect girl, she could make it all go away.

My family tried to butch me up. Whenever I acted too much like a girl (singing Olivia Newton-John songs, watching musicals, and hating sports), they told me to stop acting like a “sissy.” Hearing those words from your family is harsh. It made me feel defective as if there was something intrinsically wrong with me.

I know they didn’t mean to hurt me; they were trying to make me stronger, trying to make me fit a mold that society had already pre-set for boys. I needed to be strong, have thick skin, and relish in all things rough-and-tumble. And since I wasn’t living up to that ideal, they believed it was their job to try to cram me into it. This was the 1970′s after all (God, I’m old!). Life was a bit different in terms of accepting diversity than it is today.

I hold no grudge against my family. In fact, I love them with all my heart. Raising a child isn’t easy, and as we all know, no instruction manual on child rearing really exists. They did the best they could at the time and worked with the information they had.

They have evolved a lot since those days and so have I.

Back then, I waited for the girl who would make me straight, and I eventually thought I found her. Four years after meeting her, we were married.

She was, and still is, a wonderful human being. She has been far better to me than I have any reason to hope, but the love I felt for her couldn’t stop the secret from gnawing away at me from the inside. For years, it slowly consumed me from within until I turned into someone I didn’t even recognize.

When I looked in the mirror and saw who looked back at me, I didn’t recognize him because he wasn’t the real me. The real me existed somewhere deep within, and I had never even met him. The realization caused me to spiral downward and it also coincided with the arrival of my daughter into my life.

I questioned my ability to be a good father, to teach her to love and respect herself when I loathed and hated the very breath I exhaled.

So to be true to me and to be a better father to my daughter, I revealed the truth to my wife, to my family, and to my friends. Imagine Hiroshima after the Anola Gay fly over and you will understand a bit about what ensued.

Naturally, the news devastated my wife and ended our marriage. That part of the coming out was the most difficult because I broke the heart of someone very dear to me. To have the person you devoted your life to suddenly admit he’s not the person you thought he was isn’t easy. In righting my world and taking the necessary steps to be the person I needed to be, I also destroyed hers. I will forever live with that guilt, for I truly had no intention of hurting her. However, if I didn’t accept the truth, if I didn’t acknowledge the secret, I doubt I would be typing this blog right now.

Today, though, my ex-wife and I are better parents and friends for both of us accepting the truth and moving on.

Telling my mother was its own momentous event. When I finally worked up the nerve to tell her, through tears, that I was gay. She said, “Is that it? I thought you were going to tell me you had cancer or were dying? I don’t care if you’re gay. I love you.”

Those words meant the world to me. As a single parent, my mother was my entire world for much of my life. To have her turn her back on me would have been devastating. When she didn’t, when she proved to be the woman I knew in my heart she was, I was free to finally be the man I was meant to be.

After my wife and mother knew, the rest was a piece of cake.

My family, while stunned at the revelation, didn’t care. In the immortal words of my grandfather “blood is blood.” What more was there to say on the subject? It was closed.

For my friends, a lot of them were shocked. Some knew it all along.

At the end of the day, I realized it was no big deal. This big, awful monster that I had made my sexuality out to be turned out to be nothing more than a bump in the road. As my therapist at the time told me, “sometimes the things we fear the most turn out to be nothing to fear.” When she first uttered those words, I thought she was crazy. Now, I see the wisdom.

Fear kept me from being me all those years! Nothing else. Once the fear was removed, everything else fell into place.

I have a daughter who loves me (and whom I adore more than life itself). She doesn’t care that I’m gay. All she cares about is that I’m her Dad, that I help her with homework, drive her to school and dance class, and spoil her rotten!

I found a husband who is a wonderful man and who loves me despite my warts (and there are many!) I also have two great step children, who could care less about having two gay dads. It’s a non-issue for them.

My family loves me, my friends accept me, and my colleagues (who were stunned at first) don’t even bat an eye about it now.

So for anyone out there still struggling with coming out, know that life does get better. I know coming out stories are not always like mine, but they can be. Even if yours isn’t, being true to yourself is the best thing you can do for you.

After all, when you look in the mirror, you have to be happy with who you see staring back at you. For the past almost ten years years, I’ve never been happier. That’s worth any price.

Ex-Gay Minister Admits He’s Gay!

ThinkProgress reports that John Smid, founder and former director of Love in Action (LIA), one of the oldest ex-gay conversion ministries, has come out of the closet.

Since Smid’s resignation from LIA in 2008, he apparently has had a change of heart about his own sexuality (he’s gay and married to a woman) and his beliefs on homosexuality in general. (I would guess so, now that he “realizes” he’s one of us!) Click here to read his latest blog post.

Smid’s revelations have led him to understand how narrow minded his previous views on homosexuality were. He even admitted the following:

“I was completely unwilling to hear anything that didn’t fit my paradigm. I blocked out anyone’s life story or biblical teaching that didn’t match up with what I believed… Now that I am not submerged into one sided perspectives, I am open to studying and reading the scriptures for myself, I am finding so many rich truths that I wasn’t ever made aware of before.

To me, this admission proves that proponents of conversion therapy know logically that ex-gay conversion doesn’t work, but since the facts contradict prejudice-based ignorance, they choose to ignore it like presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Herman Cain. The science is there, but people like Santorum and Cain (and at one time Smid) refuse to look at the data because it doesn’t support the hate they spout.

Now that Smid is free from such hateful clutter, he sees the word of God in a new light. He understands that the Bible is about love and acceptance, not about fostering hate and fear.

He even now realizes that “One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable…. the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.”

It’s nice to hear an ex-gay minister say those words. The mere idea is preposterous. If homosexuals could change to being heterosexual, then that means heterosexuals can do the same thing. How many of my heterosexual friends believe they could be persuaded by prayer to be gay? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You can’t wish (or pray) the gay away or into someone. That’s now how it works.

Luckily, Smid also realizes that too. “I used to define homosexuality or heterosexuality in terms describing one’s behavior,” he confessed. “I thought it made sense and through the years often wrote articles and talked from that perspective. Today, I understand why the gay community had such an issue with my writings. My perspective denied so many facets of the homosexual experience. I minimized a person’s life to just their sexuality but homosexuality is much more than sex.”

Precisely. Just as sex is only a small part of a heterosexual person’s identity, sex isn’t the entire portion of a homosexual’s identity either. We are all so much more than who we go to bed with at night. I’m glad Smid finally realizes that and has been enlightened. I applaud him for not only making the change but admitting it.

It takes a lot of strength to admit you have been behaving badly, and I applaud Smid for not only eating crow but for now being a voice for truth.

Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day!

Whether you’re gay or a straight person who loves your gay friends, tomorrow is an important day in the GLBT community. It is National Coming Out Day, a day to celebrate not only who you love but who you are.

National Coming Out Day started on October 11, 1987, when half a million people marched in Washington in support for GLBT rights. Since then, October 11th has been a day when the GLBT community and their supporters unite in solidarity to help equality reach us all!

So, if you see someone wearing purple or proudly displaying their rainbow button, let them know you are a GLBT ally. And, if you want, you can wear purple tomorrow too!

Jesus at a Gay Bar

First of all, I would like to thank Jacob for allowing me be a guest writer on his blog. Second of all, this topic is one near and very dear to my heart.

I firmly believe that if Jesus Christ were to return to earth that he would not be hanging at the big mega churches like Lakewood in Houston nor do I think that he would be appearing with Pat Robertson on the 700 club. I don’t think Jesus would be visiting either The Vatican or the The Holy Land.  Jesus would very simply be hanging out at a gay bar.

Now I am sure the notion of Jesus in a gay bar has many of you spinning your heads right now and getting ready to spit green soup, but I believe that the Son of Man would be hanging out at Oilcan Harry’s, Splash, or South Beach.  First of all, people of all walks of life flock to gay clubs: gay, transgendered, bisexual, fruit flies, and even (gasp!) straight men Now come on my straight male brethren, fess up, you know your girl has dragged you to a gay club at least once.  People flock to the gay clubs because they know that they serve the best drinks, have the best music, and perhaps most importantly ALL are accepted.

Unlike, the above named religious institutions, gay clubs offer a place where the disenfranchised, the undesirables, and those looking for respite from a judgmental and persecutory world can escape.  What better place for Jesus to hang out?  Though on his first visit to our little blue planet he did spend time in religious institutions the majority of his time was actually spent with the disenfranchised, the undesirables, and those looking for respite from a judgmental and persecutory world.

When I first came out of the closet (which is a completely different story and Jacob will not let me go on forever unfortunately, so maybe another time) finally accepting who I was and feeling truly comfortable in my skin for the first time ever, I felt liberated, but then the barrage began. I was ridiculed, taunted, and told how sinful that I was. I was chastised and shunned being told that I was going to hell! WTF?? Fortunately, I was strong in my faith and God was there to lead and guide me in this tough time, and I also attended my first gay bar.  Now this was the place that I felt accepted and loved.  I was confused.  Shouldn’t I have felt this way in my own church?

I did much research on homosexuality and my religion, and I was able to accept that one did not exclude the other, and today I am still able to practice my religion, be a proud homosexual, and feel comfortable both in gay bars and my church.

I unfortunately found myself to be quite the rarity in the homosexual community. Finding spiritual homosexual persons is rare, but to find a practicing spiritual gay person is even rarer. Why is that? Many of my gay friends grew up like me in religious homes, but they have turned away from their spiritual upbringing. I was saddened that I was in such a minority.

I believe the simple answer to this question lies in an encounter I had with a dear sweet friend a few years after I had come out. I’m not sure what the conversation was about, but my friend made a blanket statement. My friend said, “we [gays] are all going to hell anyway…”  Those of you who know me can only imagine my indignation, and I quickly set my friend correct (not straight because conversion therapy is just wrong), but from his comment I suddenly realized a very important fact. People in the gay community as a whole believe we are all going to hell. This is what they have been told. Not only by their families, but by their churches. Now not all churches are as such, but judgment has been passed and in the gay community we are barraged with propaganda of how churches hate us and shun us. I get it now. No one wants to go anyplace where they feel unsafe and certainly are not wanted.  They want to go to a gay bar! The doors of many churches have been closed to us for centuries. Is not religion supposed to minister to the needy and to the unchurched? Is not God the only one that is to pass judgment?

I think that if religious institutions were to make their houses of worship more Christ like, aka, like a gay bar and welcome the GLBT community into the church that they would finally be fulfilling a much needed mission on this earth. Our GLBT community needs some spirituality and they need God’s love.  Churches might actually feed a few more souls and in turn the church during the holidays would be decorated immaculately, beautiful tenors will be heard from the choir loft, and your potlucks would be fabulous!

So, if Christ were to come back and walk the earth today you know where he would be?  (And I firmly believe it!!)  He would be at a gay bar. Think about it!