Straight man “turns gay” for a year
A straight Christian man, who had been taught by his parents and the Bible that being gay was an "abomination", has spent a year living as a gay man.
Timothy Kurek, 26, from Portland, Oregon, made the decision when a friend told him she was a lesbian, and that her parents had disowned her when she came out.
"I feel God really kicked me in the gut," he told ABC. "She was crying in my arms and instead of being there for her, I was thinking about all the arguments to convert her."
So Kurek "came out" and spent the next year pretending to be gay in order to discover how society treated gay men and women.
It was the isolation which struck him the most, he said. Before he "came out", he had a very active social life.
"After I came out, I didn't hear from 95 per cent of my friends," he added.
He even recruited a fake boyfriend, Shawn, who he describes as a "big, black, burly teddy bear".
Shawn took him to gay bars, where he taught him "the nuances of gay culture, and how they flirt", and also acted as an excuse when other men made advances on him.
Kurek details his year living as a gay man in his memoir The Cross and the Closet. In it he also reveals the reaction of his mother when he came out.
"I snooped in my mother's journal one day after I had come out and she'd written, 'I'd rather have fond out from a doctor that I had terminal cancer than have a gay son.'"
Kurek says that his years spent living as a "gay" man, has cured his homophobia for good. His mother, too, has now become a supporter of gay rights.
The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek is published by Bluehead Publishing and is out now. Part of the proceeds from the book will be given to charities helping young LGBT people who are homeless.