My name is Kevin. I am 35 years old. The man I am today, is not the man I have always been. My life has been radically changed. But let me give you a little history to set the stage: When I was just two years old, my parents got a divorce. My mom has always loved me and supported me through everything. She has always been my best friend and still is to this day. My father was never really around when I was growing up, but when he was, he was very verbally, physically, and at times, sexually abusive. He said it was his way of teaching me how to be a man.
I was introduced to God at a very young age by my grandmother and aunt. I always believed in God and loved God, but I have not always been a follower of God. I loved going to visit my aunt because I would get to go to church with them and learn about God. Those memories were always very fond memories. My aunt’s husband is a conservative Baptist preacher. He was really the only positive male influence in my life other than my male cousins. However, I wasn’t given these opportunities a lot, mainly in the summers.
My childhood was difficult because I wasn’t as masculine as other boys. I was severely bullied in school most of my life because I wasn’t manly enough. I hated school and hated going so much that I would hide in the closet in my room or go to the bus stop, but not get on the bus. Sometimes I would skip school and just go hide in the ditch across the street from the school so no one could bully me. I can remember being called a “faggot” in the first grade and it seemed to form my identity for years to follow. I really hated that I was so feminine. I tried to be more masculine, but to no avail. I did everything from playing sports to wearing biker clothes, and dressing like a cowboy, but none of it was convincing. I really tried everything I could to change, but nothing worked. I was a very lonely boy with no friends.
In my early teen years I began to be very confused about my sexuality and would pray at night that I would die in my sleep so I would not have to tell my family I was gay. When I was in the 9th grade, I finally made a friend and we had a lot in common. We hung out at school some and spent the night at each other’s homes. I was so excited to have a friend. When I was around fourteen years old, he was staying the night with me and the next day, he said “Let’s go out to the woods,” which were near my house. I had no idea what his agenda was, but I went anyway. We went into the woods and he put a rag over my face with an inhalant, knocked me out and proceeded to rape me. I knew what he did wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what to do. We continued to be friends because I didn’t know how to tell anyone what had taken place and I didn’t want to lose the only friend I ever had.
It was years before I told anyone about that rape, or the abuse I suffered from my father. The first person I finally opened up to was my grandmother. We were drinking coffee in her kitchen around the table, something she loves to do, when she said “Kevin, you just have so much hate in your heart, something must have happened to you, you can tell me anything.” I opened up to her and let it out, we began crying together and she prayed for me.
I began having same sex attractions at a pretty young age and at the age of 15, I came out of the closet and told my family I was gay. In my mind my only options were to come out or to commit suicide, but I couldn’t continue to live my life in that state of confusion. When I came out of the closet, it was amazing. Suddenly, I had a lot of friends and I was considered a cool kid for the first time in my life. I finally felt normal and like I fit in somewhere. I was accepted and in some ways, praised. I loved all the attention I received and decided I would take it to the next level and start dressing in drag. It started out on Halloween for fun, and everyone said I was so beautiful. The attention of drag became addictive. You see in drag my femininity was an asset and I used it to my advantage. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the next twenty years living in the gay lifestyle.
I continued dressing in drag all through the rest of my teenage years and started working in gay nightclubs as a drag entertainer as soon as I was old enough to get into the clubs. Soon after, I started working in the adult industry as a transsexual prostitute. I began doing this as a temporary thing, but I saw how much money I could make so I continued in what I was doing. I was making around $1,000 a day and became addicted to the money. It helped to support my now heavy drinking habit and lavish lifestyle. I couldn’t do drag or prostitute without being drunk. I lived my life as a female for years because I felt accepted that way. I was beautiful and people, mainly men, made me feel sexy and wanted.
During my time in this lifestyle, I began to realize that this lifestyle is very unhealthy. Many friends and acquaintances were dying at very young ages, people getting infected with HIV, and I saw people ruin their lives from drug and alcohol addiction. I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was always asking myself what would happen if I were to die. It caused me great anxiety and fear. At times I was afraid to even sleep at night. It was a time when I gave up on God. All I had ever been taught by the church was that gay people are going to hell and their punishment from God was to get AIDS and die. So I figured, if I’m going to hell, I might as well have fun doing it! To most people, my outer appearance was that of a very happy person. I was always the life of the party, which is why I was good at being a drag emcee.
In 2013, I moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in hopes of getting away from all of the drama that went on in the gay lifestyle of Dallas, and start a new life. In Florida, I quickly became involved in drag shows and hosting my own show in a male strip club as well as dance cruises where we incorporated stripper boys into our shows. While in Florida, I met a stripper boy at the club where I was working, who invited me to go to church. I thought it was weird, but I was open to it so I went. Still caught up in the same ways I had been living, I later was hospitalized with pneumonia and I was again reminded that this lifestyle was very unhealthy. I was in south Florida with no family so I decided it was time for me to come back to Texas only eight months after leaving.
After being home only a couple of months, one of my friends invited me to go to church on Easter and I agreed to go just to be kind. I became really interested in the message that day and they had my attention. I saw this modern-day version of the resurrection of Jesus Christ being played out on stage and I began to cry, as I saw all that Jesus had done for me while realizing the lifestyle I was living was not honoring to Jesus. The preacher asked if anyone was ready to accept Christ, to raise their hands and pray a prayer. I was one of those people. That was the beginning of my walk with Christ.
When I would speak to my gay friends about God, they thought I was insane. The first thing they said was “You’re gay, you can’t believe in God.” Once at a drag show, the emcee went so far as to say on the microphone,“Look out” because “The Christian just walked in.” When people started learning about my faith, I was instantly ridiculed and called crazy. Suddenly I was no longer popular and lost all of my friends. The desire to do drag, party, or go to gay clubs became less appealing. God began speaking to me and I got rid of all of my female clothing and accessories. Despite my countless sexual encounters with men, I remember how shocked I was when I tested HIV negative. I couldn’t believe it, I asked to be tested again and I was still negative. God answered my prayers. My heart began changing over that period of time. I was at work one day when I realized that I still had Darrel’s number from Living Hope in my cell phone, which my sister had given me years before. I gave him a call and scheduled an intake interview and began going to Living Hope. I was always taught that homosexuality was a sin and I did believe this to be true, but since I was convinced that I was born gay, I assumed that I must have been created to go to hell. I admit that for most of my life, I asked myself, “If I died today, would I go to hell?” It didn’t scare me enough to make me want to change because I tried changing so many times before but it didn’t work.
As I drove all the way to Arlington for my intake interview, I had lots of thoughts going through my head. I didn’t know if this guy was going to judge me, or if this ministry was going to do crazy things to me. When I arrived, Darrel greeted me and had such a loving presence. It was very different from what I was expecting. I began going to Living Hope that same night and the love that Jesus showed me changed my life drastically. I learned from Ricky Chelette at Living Hope we should never diminish our faith in order to be friends with others. He also helped me learn how a person might “think” he is born gay. I learned how Gods design didn’t include homosexuality. As I watched him explain homosexuality on a white board, I saw my life unfold and it all made perfect sense. Living Hope shows the love that Jesus has for us. All of their teachings come from a place of love, not condemnation. Contrary to some articles you may read about them, I can honestly tell you that “Anti, ex, cure , or hate” does not describe the heart of Living Hope Ministries. The proper adjectives to describe this ministry would be “loving, caring, kind, agape,” and the list goes on and on. The teachings of this ministry come from the fruit of the spirit which is Love. They love people into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and the rest is left with Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Many people in modern day society say Christians are weak-minded people, but from my experience, that is quite the opposite. We have to be able to resist the temptations of our daily lives and that takes a very strong-minded person. Through Jesus, I am a new creation with a new heart. I also have learned to let go of any bitterness I had in my heart for anyone. The difficulties I went through in life made me the person I am today. God uses everything for His glory and He is using me to share my experiences to help others going through the same things. No sin is too great for Him to handle. In fact, what He did on the cross erased all sins of our past. He doesn’t even remember any of that when you come to Him. Just understanding this gave me so much peace in my heart. Today, I can honestly say that I have no real desire for men, porn, masturbation, or to be a women or drag queen. Instead, I do have the desire to have a wife, children and a family. Keep in mind that I did not come to Christ seeking change, I came to Christ with an open mind, a loving heart and the desire for a healthy lifestyle.
Being macho does not make a man a man. I know Gods love! Genesis 1:27 says “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created Him.” This tells me that He loves me just the way I am. He knows my heart. We tend to judge a book by its cover. When people see me, they assume I am gay, but I am a person of substance that some cannot fully understand, but God can. I am a unique individual and God loves this about me. After all, I am His creation. In the words of Sy Rogers, “What you see before you is just the residue of my past.” I am a transformed man of God and child of the King!