I’m From Jackson, MS.

by daniel cook

I was with a couple of friends at a Lifeway Christian Store, a large chain of stores that sells Christian related objects, bibles, books, music, robes, etc, etc, etc. All of us happen to be “family,” so it’s a gay guy (me), a bi guy, and a lesbian.

A random lady (she’s white and I’d say in her mid-40s) comes up to me from another aisle carrying a book on ex-gay therapy and asks me, “Hey, if you were a teenager and had been confused by Satan to think that you were a homosexual, do you think that this book would help you see the light and come back to God’s grace?”

Side Note: I have to say, asking me anything about the ex-gay movement is generally a bad idea. I was forced to undergo ex-gay therapy for three years and…I’m still gay. It doesn’t work and any non-skewed study shows that it’s ineffective and harmful.

I calmly looked at the lady and told her that no, I didn’t think that it would work, and explained that groups such as the American Psychological Association had stated that such therapy is harmful to a person.

She kept pushing the issue about why I didn’t think that it worked, until finally I just told her that I knew it didn’t work because I had been forced to undergo such therapy and I was still gay. At this point her face went completely white and her mouth just dropped. She proceeded to run over to my guy friend saying, “He’s one of those homosexuals.” To which my friend just responded with, “Well, I’m bi; I like both guys and girls.” She gasped and looked over at my other friend, who just looked back at her and calmly said, “It’s okay, unlike those two I don’t like guys at all, I’m a lesbian.”

The lady then literally RAN out of the section that we were in and out of the store. It was literally one of the funniest (and saddest) things that I have seen in my entire life.

Just another day in the life of being a sneaky gay (as per Glee‘s Coach Sue Sylvester webisode on the topic).


  1. That’s kind of awesome and sad at the same time.
    It’s awesome that the 3 of you are able and willing to stand out and say who you are to a complete stranger; and in a ‘Jesus Junk’ store to boot!
    It’s kind of sad that the lady in question chose to run in fear from you, rather than stay and learn something truthful.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. You’re right; That is one of the saddest and funniest thing’s I’ve heard.

  3. Interesting story! What surprises me the most is the fact that you were in that store in the first place. Did you find what you were looking for? Second, the woman obviously was concerned about someone she knew who is gay and is also Christian or at least a church goer. Would there be a different non-ex-gay book that you would recommend if you ever saw her again?

  4. @Stephen,

    No, they didn’t have what I was looking for exactly, I was looking for a NAB style Bible. But, I’m Roman Catholic and comfortable being both a Catholic and a “Sneaky Gay.” haha Honestly, I can not in good faith recommend to anybody an “ex-gay” book, because ex-gay books (or at least all of them that I have read) have all claimed that you can be “cured” from your disease of homosexuality.

    The following is a list of books that I have found helpful, though:

    Both Feet Firmly Planted in Midair: My Spiritual Journey. John McNeill. Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.

    Can Homophobia Be Cured? Wrestling with Questions that Challenge the Church. Bruce Hilton, Abington Press, 1992.

    Coming Out to God: Prayers for Lesbians and Gay Men, Their Families and Friends. Chris Glaser. Westminster John Knox Press, 1991.

    Homosexuality and Religion. Richard Hasbany, editor. Haworth Press, 1990.

    In God’s Image; Christian Witness to the Need for Gay/Lesbian Equality in the Eyes of the Church. Robert Warren Cromey. Alamo Square Press, San Francisco, 1991.

    Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? A Positivie Christian Response. Letha Scanzoni and Virginia R. Mollenkott, Harper San Francisco, 1994.

    Lord Given Lovers: The Holy Union of David & Jonathan. Christopher Hubble. Hubble Books, 2003. http://www.hubblebooks.com/

    Pastor, I Am Gay. Rev. Howard H. Bess. Palmer Publishing Company, 1995.

    Stranger at the Gate. Rev. Mel White, Simon & Schuster, 1995.

    The New Testament and Homosexuality. Robin Scroggs, Augsburg Fortress, 1984.

    The Poetics of Intimacy and the Problem of Sexual Abstinence. Published by
    Peter Lang, 2000.

    Twice Blessed: On Being Gay & Jewish. Christie Balka and Andy Rose, editors. Beacon Press, 1989.

    What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D. Alamo Square Press, May 2000.

  5. Thanks for the virtual library!

  6. @Stephen

    Haha, sorry, I read… a lot. Um, In God’s Image; Christian Witness to the Need for Gay/Lesbian Equality in the Eyes of the Church and The New Testament and Homosexuality are my two favorites. But, honestly, any of those are a really interesting read. (trust me, you don’t want me to list all the books I’ve gone through that are junk.)

  7. So when are you going to write your own book, Daniel?

  8. @Stephen My own book? That will come about the same time as I’m elected as the first ever openly gay Representative to the Mississippi State Legislature, as a Republican. So, I’m hoping around 2030, that would give me time to shore up my political career a bit. 😉 Barring that and my blog, I’ll let Nathan and all of the wonderfully amazing people at IFD keep up their work, what with their mad skills and all.

    But, if you (or anyone else who reads this) has any questions on my personal take on being gay and religious, y’all definitely should feel free to contact me at [email protected]

  9. Every single christian bookstore I’ve ever been in has at least one closet gay behind the register. I think it’s a rule.

  10. That’s freakin’ hysterical! I would be laughing my a** off at her!

  11. Ten years for me, and nothing but a lost decade of frozen social, occupational, and academic development.

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