A straight man posed as a gay man for a year, fictitiously came out to his friends and family, and has written a book about his experiences.
Timothy Kurek says his religious upbringing in the middle of Nashville, Tennessee, left him mercilessly homophobic until a female friend changed his life. When she came out as a lesbian, she was disowned by her family.
Kurek said he questioned his religion, and said he needed to learn empathy with the LGBT community. In an interview with gay anchor Thomas Roberts for MSNBC, he said his family were supportive.
He said: ‘They treated me with the love and respect I expected. I don’t think they knew quite know how to react to having a gay family member but that was the religious barrier.’
Kurek said he wanted to know how the ‘label’ of gay affected his life, and he tried to go to gay clubs, bars and cafes.
He said: ‘I just tried to be around these people as much as I could to see if there was any justification in the fear that I had.’
In the interview, Roberts says he wondered how he could validate his experiment to people who are actually lesbian or gay. He said they could potentially be offended by his work, particularly since his research involved only going to Nashville’s gay neighborhood.
In response, he said ‘there is no way I could possibly understand what it’s like to actually be gay.’
He added: ‘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.’
Kurek’s untitled book will be released soon.