Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Q Toon: The Cross in the Closet

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Oct 17, 2012
This week's cartoon is inspired by a fundamentalist Christian originally from Nashville (now in Portland, Oregon) and graduate of Liberty University who has written The Cross in the Closet, about the year he spent pretending to be gay.

The only people Timothy Kurek let in on his ruse were an aunt, asking her to keep an eye on how his mother was handling the news, and a guy he recruited to pretend to be his boyfriend after getting weirded out by oiled-up beglittered guys trying to pick him up in gay bars. He began working in a gay café, joined a gay softball league, and attended Pride events, all the while maintaining his inner identity as a straight Christian.
Many friends, especially from Liberty, ... wrote emails to him after he came out asking that he repent of his sins and warning that he faced damnation. He does not regret their loss. "I now have lots of new gay friends," Kurek said.
He sneaked a peek at his mother's diary and read that she would rather have been told she had terminal cancer than that her son was gay. Fortunately for Mr. Kurek, she did not attempt to ship him off to an ex-gay indoctrination center.
Eventually she too was won over and changed her views. "My mom went from being a very conservative Christian to being an ally to the gay community. I am very proud of her," he said.
Kurek also experienced firsthand being called abusive names. Though he himself had once called gay protesters at Liberty "fags", he found himself on the other side of the fence of insults. During a softball practice session in Nashville, a man walking his dogs called Kurek and his teammates "faggots."
Kurek had to be restrained from confronting the man and then broke down in tears at the shock. "When I was first called that for real, I lost it. I saw red. I felt so violated by that word," he said.
The version of the story I came across first was this one on RawStory.com, and it's a good thing I googled Timothy Kurek before setting pen to paper. Rawstory illustrated the article with a picture of a cute cowboy in a presumably gay line dancing group. The cute cowboy looks nothing like Mr. Kurek, who is considerably more ... hefty. And given to wearing heavy steel earrings. Although he does like plaid shirts. As a bit of editorial license, I have given him a shave in the cartoon.

I have no idea what his mother actually looks like. I considered drawing her as Debbie Novotny from Queer As Folk (US), but decided against it.

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