BY Duane Wells
September 17 2009 12:00 PM ET
the subject of acceptance, you have finally recorded “Stained Glass
Window,” which you originally wrote for the Del Shores play Southern
Baptist Sissies. That song and that play were both very personal for
you, weren’t they?
Yeah. Del Shores put [Southern Baptist
Sissies] up in 2001 in Los Angeles… and it kind of developed its own life.
“Stained Glass Window” was a song I wrote based on the play because
that play happened to be a very defiant moment for me in that I was
able to put aside my internal conflicts.
I had just showed up
in L.A. fresh off the bus [when] someone dragged me into this play
called Southern Baptist Sissies, and by halftime -- I like to call
intermission halftime -- I was in my chair in the fetal position bawling
my eyes out. I had no idea that so many other people had gone through
what I had gone through. I didn’t realize that my story was the story
of other people. I was floored.
Del Shores happened to have been
sitting behind me at the time and he leaned over and asked me if I was
going to be OK. I said, "I don’t know who wrote this play, but it’s
just tearing me apart!" [Laughs] And then he said, "I wrote
it. Hi. I’m Del Shores." We got to talking about my six years of
"reparative" therapy and growing up in the church and [Del] extended his
hand and said, "You can come back and see this play as many times as it
takes you to put your past behind you." So I think I went to see the play 36 times. [Laughs]
along the way, one of the monologues from the play called “All the
Colors” is what inspired the writing of [“Stained Glass Window”]. A lot
of Del Shores fans and some fans of my own have wanted that song to be
recorded for a very long time, so it brings me much joy to finally have
a copy of that song on an album.
That song is a testimony, so
I’m sure your fans appreciate the fact that you’ve recorded it.
Speaking of which, you once told me that fans often come up to you
after your shows to share their personal stories and how much they
relate to your own personal odyssey. Is that still the case?
And I am still amazed at the amount of [stories]. I never fail to be
amazed at the [gay] youth who are still struggling, because it is a
reflection of the communities that they are from and how [those
communities] have not advanced in their thinking.
I’ve been sort of urbanized, I sort of don’t realize as much as I used
to that there are areas of the country that are still very much the
same as they were when we were growing up. It’s always a little bit of
a shock when a 16-year-old comes up to me after a show and says, "My
dad just kicked me out and I don’t know what to do" or "I don’t know
how to come out to my mom or to my friends" -- just to hear that they’re
still dealing with very personal conflicts, with their religion and who
they are as God-created human beings, still amazes me.
thinking that our consciousness in this country is a little bit further
along than sometimes I find that it is when I hear some of these