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?
I had to find out for myself.
I had to learn empathy because sympathy simply wouldn’t be enough to challenge my years of programming.
I needed to see how the label of gay would change how I was viewed by everyone around me, and if people would treat me like a second-class citizen for no other reason than that they believed I was gay.
And I needed to feel the isolation and repression of the closet… as much as I would be able.
In January 2009 I entered the closet a straight man and came out to my friends and family as a gay. I lived with the label for an entire year. After my life as I knew it had quickly unraveled into nothing, I began building a new one. I became a barista at a gay café. I played in a LGBT softball league. I protested in New York City with a group of gay activists that I had encountered years before while I studied Liberty University. And I even participated in a marriage equality event with the son on Jim and Tammy Faye, Jay Bakker. For a year I immersed myself, completely and utterly, in the small gay scene of Nashville, Tennessee, and experienced firsthand the agony of being isolated, repressed, and alone.
My book is the result of that year and it tells the story of the men and women that challenged, and ultimately changed my life’s path. It is a book about faith, and a book about doubt. But mostly it is a book about people, and how the men and women I’d always been taught to shun ended up saving my life.
Why an Indiegogo campaign?
The book releases in October 11th of this year, but before it does a lot of groundwork must be laid for it to have a real chance of making it in the tough, mainstream market. This work requires a quality PR firm to help get the word out. In addition, the final edits on the book must also be done by a quality editor. These two things are more than I am able to afford in the timeframe I we are looking at. In order to get this book out, we must raise approximately $8,000.
- $5,500 to hire a publicist for six months
- $1,500 to the editor for the final draft revisions
- $1,000 for travel expenses to Washington D.C. to meet with the Publicist
*What happens if we raise money over and above the goal? All funds raised above the $8,000 will go towards additional PR services needed, and the equipment needed to develop talks and workshops for speaking engagements. This is the next step after hiring the publicist.
- This is not a book about being gay. As a straight man I am fundamentally unqualified to write that book. Instead this book is about what I could experience firsthand, and that is to feel for myself how the label of gay would affect both my external and internal life.
- This book is not an exposé or a theological treatise. This book is the story about my personal experiences immersed in the gay scene of Nashville. And while I was befriended by a wide variety of individuals, I would never consider myself an expert in gay, bisexual, lesbian, or trans issues. The book is about my personal journey out of prejudice and the people who taught me along the way.
- 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.
My mission is to share the hearts and stories of others, so that people might begin to see and treat each other as human instead of by the labels of our religion, politics, or orientation. I feel honored to have met the people I did during this experiment, and while my means were unorthodox to say the least, walking for a year in the shoes of a gay man, irrevocably changed my life. My intentions are not to tell you what to believe, but rather to show you what I believed, who I was, and to introduce you to a beautiful cast of characters that answered many of my questions without even knowing it.
Will you help me?
In a time where we are bombarded by stories of prejudice towards our fellow human, and when the American people are facing a national presidential election where equal rights will be playing a starring role, it is crucial that we re-examine our beliefs before casting our ballots. I believe this book will provide insight in a way that many others haven’t. It is a book of questions and experiences, and it is my prayer that you will walk with me through the story of my “abominable” year of living with the label of gay.
$1 Get your toes wet-
I understand you want to help, but the economy isn't the best. At the $1 level you can support the campaign and share it with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Every dollar helps!
$25 Contributor Level-
You have my infinite gratitude for believing in me and this project enough to donate and I will add your name in the acknowledgements of the book.
$50 Essential Contributor Level-
Beyond having my infinite gratitude and your name in the acknowledgements, you will receive an autographed copy of the book before its release date. Consider this a pre-order on steroids!
$100 Partner Level-
Beyond having my infinite gratitude, your name in the acknowledgements and an autographed copy of the book before the release date, we will also give you a free download of the ebook for your Kindle, Nook, or Ipad.
$250 My Personal Hero Level-
Beyond having my infinite gratitude, an autographed copy of the book before the release date, the free download of the ebook for your Kindle, Nook, or Ipad, I would also like to thank personally via Skype, Phone, or over coffee.
$500 Benefactor Level-
Not only will you receive all of the other perks, I would like to speak in person or via Skype with your book club, or your church's small group. I can’t wait to meet you because without you this thing would not have been possible!
About the Author
Timothy Kurek is a Portland based author/speaker from Nashville, Tennessee, that loves life and loves people. His first book will be released in early October 2012 and is being published by Blue Head Publishing out of Seattle, Washington. You can contact him via Facebook at www.facebook.com/timothykurek or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team on This Campaign: