By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com September 21 2010 5:10 PM ET
Excerpt from Chapter 12: Demons Inside and Out
The feeling was probably always there, but for the longest time I didn’t know what it was. I was attracted to females, but every so often I was also attracted to males. Growing up I didn’t think it was unusual. In South Carolina, I still felt like a kid at eleven or twelve. I was very innocent, and didn’t even know what a bisexual or homosexual was. We never talked about it, and so I never knew I was “different” or in the minority for being attracted to both sexes.
That changed a bit when I was thirteen and lived with my dad for a year. In the small Pennsylvania town the kids threw around terms like “fag” or “homo” and it was clear that a fag was something you didn’t want to be. I knew it was derogatory, but it didn’t click with my own feelings.
When my grandfather, the one I looked up to, found out a cousin of mine was gay, he refused to let him into their house. I remember my dad saying, “No son of mine will ever be gay. He’d be out the door and I’d never talk to him again.” He said it loudly and proudly to the rest of the family. I remember freezing, because in my teens I began to realize that my heart and hormones didn’t really discriminate a gender when it came to attraction. It was only then, that I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me.
I also asked myself what kind of world are we living in where your son could be a murderer, and that’s more acceptable? Even as I reached fourteen, I didn’t label myself. I just went with the flow. If I liked someone I liked someone. It was only when I started seeing things on the news that I really started to understand the social implications. I saw my fellow Christians waving “God hates fags” banners around. Then I saw the grotesque photos of Matthew Shepard, a gay teen who was beaten up and left for dead by a fence. I didn’t understand it, and I still don’t.
I’m out to my parents now. Telling them was awkward, not so much because of my orientation, but more because I had to talk about my feelings at all. My social life, romances, were never something I discussed.
As I write this, my paternal grandfather still doesn’t know. Part of me still wants his respect, perhaps in part because of the sense of isolation I felt after my childhood paranormal experiences. But so many people struggle against this kind of prejudice that I’ve decided life is too short to hide who I am for anybody.I’m tired of turning on the news and seeing another teenager commit suicide because they were afraid of the social implications. I’m tired of seeing third-world, backwards countries like Uguanda impose death penalty laws for gay people. I’m tired of American politicians turning down gay rights but then getting caught at a gay bathhouse, unbeknownst to their wives and children. Most importantly, I’m tired of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals being told that they’re going to hell and that God hates them for who they are.
So many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people turn away from their faith because they have been told by bigots that God has already turned His back on them. I received an e-mail from a young man who told me that he was gay, but wondered if he was going to hell. “Since you deal with spirits, have you ever come across evidence that suggests that they do go to hell or they are in torment?” This broke my heart. We humans can be so cruel to each other, but the teachings of Jesus Christ are that of love and compassion. I’ve decided to share my sexuality and struggle over faith in hopes that others will no longer feel as though they are alone or that they can’t be religious.
I don’t bring it up here as a political point, though. My bisexuality brings me back, in a roundabout way, to the demonic. I had a close friend and investigator I’d been open with. At first, he seemed accepting of me, but around the same time I was dealing with the aftermath of those cases in 2005, he started telling me that I was committing a mortal sin and that I because of it I was detrimental to my clients.
It’s my understanding that he also began warning several priests I’d looked up to about me. Apparently he told them not only about my orientation, but also that I was too accepting of other people’s beliefs in things like paganism, and that I was open to psychics. Whatever the case several priests suddenly shut their doors and stopped talking to me. When I asked them about it, I was essentially told that although I was trying to help these families, I was really the problem. I was going to hell. I was doing the devil’s work just by being who I was, and I was in denial about it. One of these priests even suggested I go to a sort of straight-boot camp to be purged of my sickness.
At best, these priests felt I was flawed and that I had an illness that would allow the devil to attack me. Since I was refusing to accept that I was damned, since I wasn’t treating bisexuality as a spiritual disease, I was, in the eyes of God, perverting and desecrating His work. They didn’t seem able to tolerate any viewpoint other than their own and spent a long time trying to make me feel very guilty.
That sense of betrayal lived in the back of my mind for a very long time. It was a big part of the fallout from those demonic cases, which brought me to the dark crossroads in my life that eventually put me on a path toward Paranormal State.
Consciously, I never felt that I was serving the devil. I did worry that the drumbeat of guilt could be used against me, though. After hearing it so often, it was as if a lying voice in the back of my head said, “How can you expect God to answer your prayers for these people when you’re a sinner?”
Though I knew what I believed in my heart, it took a very long time for me to fully accept they were wrong. There was even a moment when it finally dawned on me, but that wouldn’t happen until we were in the middle of shooting season 1.5.
Reprinted by permission. To purchase Paranormal State: My Journey Into the Unknown, click here.