Growing up in a staunchly religious household, Nashvillian Timothy Kurek tells Thomas Roberts — MSNBC’s openly gay news anchor — he was raised to be prejudiced toward members of the LGBT community.
That all changed when a friend of Kurek came out to her family, and was subsequently shunned.
“She broke down one night outside karaoke and told me she had just come out to her family and had been brutally disowned,” Kurek said. “She had been ex-communicated from her entire life, and two words had changed it all…’I’m gay’.”
He began to reflect on his upbringing and his preconceived notions about homosexuality, and decided to spend an entire year living as a gay person in order “to learn empathy” and see if there was “any justification in the fear that I had.”
Kurek “came out” to his family, and began hanging out around gay people at clubs, coffee houses and other establishments in Nashville’s “gay-borhood.”
Roberts at one point calls Kurek out on his seemingly superficial approach to living the life of a gay person, asking him how he “validates this to those who wrestle with this for years…and might be offended by what you’ve done, by thinking that simply coming out to your family then going to some bars and some clubs and a bookstore that you actually know what the heck it’s really like to be a gay man living in modern-day times.”
Kurek acknowledges that “there is no way I could possibly understand what it’s like to actually be gay,” but says his book isn’t “all about what it is like to be gay,” rather “about how the label of gay impacted my external life and how those things kind of altered my faith and challenged my beliefs.”
The untitled tome is due out this October, and Kurek says he hopes LGBT readers will “accept my apology.”