Hero of the Week Award: October 19, Timothy Kurek

19 Oct

Hero of the Week

Just over two years ago, Timothy Kurek was what he describes as a “homophobic Christian.” He believed that the Bible prohibited homosexual behavior and made no effort to reconcile that with true Christian love and charity. Then a close friend came out to him and told him the story of her estrangement from her entire family. That made him think again.

Inspired to take a journey of true empathy, Kurek decided to spend a year masquerading as a gay man. He came out to friends and family and tried to integrate himself into the gay community in Nashville. The experience was more difficult and enlightening than he expected.

He has just published a book about his experiences, The Cross In the Closet, and is touring the country describing the work he did not just to wear a mask, but to open hearts and minds. Although his “coming out” was difficult for his family, he describes them now as active supporters of the LGBT community, a major change from their perspectives before his adventure. Those attitudes have stayed positive even after he revealed the nature of his project.

In less capable hands, the whole thing could come off like a media stunt. Kurek, however, is very genuine. He felt a true calling to understand his brothers and sisters and describes his difficulties as a “gay man” in terms of true struggle and oppression. Significantly, he realizes that his experiences, while enlightening, were still relatively safe.

I will be the first one to say that my experience is severely limited. There is no way I could possibly understand what it’s like to be actually gay. And the book itself is not at all about what it is like to be gay, but only about how the label of gay impacted my external life and how those things kind of altered my faith and challenged my beliefs.

What a wonderful sentiment and expression of true charity and love.


14 Responses to “Hero of the Week Award: October 19, Timothy Kurek”

  1. prideinmadness October 19, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    His book is on my wish list!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 19, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      I am eager to read it as well. We shall have to compare notes.

      • prideinmadness October 20, 2012 at 5:36 am #

        I was fist put off of the idea but people have been going “undercover” for inside stories probably since we first realized we were interested in others…so a long time.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 20, 2012 at 7:37 am #

        I have to admit, I too, was initially put off by his going undercover, but when I realized his efforts were genuine and to help religious people show compassion and love for the LGBTQ community, I was compelled to make him HWA.

      • prideinmadness October 20, 2012 at 8:05 am #

        It’s a good choice!

        I never went undercover and if I have to identify I would be heterosexual but I have been told by family and friends that if I was a lesbian I would be treated differently (ranging from people not being my friend anymore to losing “privileges” such as not being able to kiss my partner at family functions). That really hurt, like a hurt I don’t usually, if ever, experience. It’s all very eye opening….

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 20, 2012 at 8:08 am #

        I consistently experience you as a wonderful social worker. Thank you for being such a wonderful ally! Yes, I fear you would be treated far differently if you were lesbian. It is a good thing you have your blog, for you do a great job of educating people on important key issues around oppression.

      • prideinmadness October 20, 2012 at 8:11 am #

        Thank you very much! You as well! I would have to say that your Hero and Bigot of the Week are some of my favourite pieces πŸ™‚

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 20, 2012 at 8:21 am #

        Thank you! That means a great deal to me. πŸ™‚

  2. Christine Noble October 19, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Read about this guy earlier. The world needs more people willing to literally walk a mile in another’s shoes.

  3. Michelle October 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Everyone needs to take a lesson from Timonthy. What an inspiration! Two Sundays ago, when I went to church, they spoke about accepting “all gays as our brothers and sisters.” It was the first time I have ever heard it said at Mass. Beliefs are definitely changing. Stay blessed.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 20, 2012 at 7:35 am #

      You are such a wonderful ally, thank you! Thank you also for sharing your experience in your church.

  4. nevercontrary October 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Wow, is this book out right now?

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 20, 2012 at 7:36 am #

      Yes, his book is available. I believe he is on tour now promoting the book.

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