News | Tennessee | Thomas Roberts

Straight Man Pretends To Be Gay For A Year, Learns Lesson: VIDEO

Kurek

Nashville resident Timothy Kurek says his religious upbringing taught him that gay people are sinners, and that for years he acted like a straight up bigot toward them. Then, after a friend was ostracized by her family for coming out, Kurek decided to pose as a gay man to see if his past fears were warranted.

They were not, he learned. Now Kurek is writing a book about the experience and stopped by MSNBC today to discuss his project.

Gay anchor Thomas Roberts doesn't seem quite sure what to make of Kurek, and wondered how the author can "validate" his experiment to people who are actually LGBT and may be offended by his work, particularly since his research only entailed hanging out in Nashville's gay neighborhood.

In response, Kurek readily admits "there is no way I could possibly understand what it's like to actually be gay."

"The book itself is not at all about what it is like to be gay, but only about ho the label of gay impacted my external life and how those things kind of altered my faith and challenged my beliefs," he said.

Kurek also explained that his family, though very religious, was supportive and that he hopes his work โ€” something of a 21st century update of Gentlemen's Agreement โ€” can change some religious conservatives' minds.

Surely readers will have something to say about this, so watch the video and sound off AFTER THE JUMP.

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Comments

  1. And how exactly is that entirely subjective trick supposed to teach bigots anything?

    So let me get this straight, You pose as a gay man for a year. You come out to positive to neutral results. You superficially join the "community" and hang out with gay people.

    Then you wrote a book.

    It's a good example of how to get a simple book some quick press I guess.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jun 14, 2012 2:18:40 PM


  2. This would be more interesting if he were gay and wrote about what it is like to be overweight and unattractive in the gay community. He's probably actually gay, but wants to go back in the closet. Imagine the relief of his evangelical family and friends when they found out he was "just kidding" when he originally came out.

    Who's his publicist? He got himself on television before writing his book, but based on the announcement he hung out in the gayborhood in Nashville(but he's really straight). How shocking!

    Reminds me of that groundbreaking 1950s book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin where a journalist colored his skin and passed for black.

    Posted by: Skeptical | Jun 14, 2012 2:29:57 PM


  3. I think that it is highly admirable that someone straight, male, and from a religious upbringing would take such large actions to try to understand his fellow man. Society in the US and other nations would benefit from having more citizens such as this; those with astonishing levels of empathy. Truly a real Christian trait, attention and fame aside.

    Posted by: Saul | Jun 14, 2012 2:33:12 PM


  4. Let's reserve judgement till the book comes out; I am not sure I entirely approve but it must have taken a certain amount of courage to engage in such an experiment, given his background. He himself, judging by his comments in interview above, is the first to recognize the limits of his year of masquerade and has no compunction in acknowledging that he could not replicate any kind of sense of what it is to BE gay.

    I would have been interested, however, to have heard the interviewer probe him about the reaction of his family and his gay friends when he revealed that it had been a fascinating, albeit possibly gimmicky, social experiment.

    Posted by: Mundus | Jun 14, 2012 2:34:25 PM


  5. If he wanted to know what the real experience is like, he shouldn't have told his family and friends that he was just pretending. THEN he'd get the real world reaction that he claims that he was interested in seeing. This experiment is totally half-assed and means nothing. Oooooh... I hung out at a coffee shop sitting next to some gay guys. Big deal!

    Posted by: David in Houston | Jun 14, 2012 2:37:18 PM


  6. If he wanted to know what the real experience is like, he shouldn't have told his family and friends that he was just pretending. THEN he'd get the real world reaction that he claims that he was interested in seeing. This experiment is totally half-assed and means nothing. Oooooh... I hung out at a coffee shop sitting next to some gay guys. Big deal!

    Posted by: David in Houston | Jun 14, 2012 2:37:23 PM


  7. seems as though his heart might have been in the right place, but his background shines through in the turn of phrase "these people" during the interview ...

    Posted by: BillinSonoma | Jun 14, 2012 2:40:16 PM


  8. "This would be more interesting if he were gay and wrote about what it is like to be overweight and unattractive in the gay community"

    Great point. If he really is straight, then he is used to women being less interested in a guy's appearance than his social/financial status as a marker of attractiveness. He undoubtedly found out very quickly that practically all that matters to gay men, by sharp contrast, is what a guy looks like......and his being obese would have so totally skewed his experience of what being gay is like for most of us--in a hugely negative way--that it would pretty much invalidate that experience altogether.

    Being extremely attractive and gay is a totally different experience from being unattractive and gay--totally.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 14, 2012 2:41:14 PM


  9. @DavidinHouston:

    If he wanted to know what the real experience is like, he shouldn't have told his family and friends that he was just pretending."

    Perhaps, I got the wrong end of the stick, David; I got the impression from the interview that his family did not know he was pretending until after the year-long period.

    Posted by: Mundus | Jun 14, 2012 2:45:11 PM


  10. I don't buy the whole "fat is ugly" thing; I guess none of you have ever heard of the bear community?

    Using the phrase "these people" comes across as very inclusive to me. It's hard to explain but when I heard the phrase "these" whatever, to me it means a group of something which is close to the speaker as opposed to "those" which means to me something that is apart from or distant from the speaker.

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Jun 14, 2012 2:52:37 PM


  11. @David in Houston... From what I understand of the interview, his family didn't know for the duration of the experiment that he was really straight.

    Like Mundus said above, I want to reserve judgement for when the book is released. But coming from a southern, religious background myself, if he is truthful in the fact that it was his religious background that contributed to his own bullying attitudes toward gays, I can see how having a positive response by his family was a surprise. A good one at that.

    Posted by: theotherlee | Jun 14, 2012 2:53:28 PM


  12. "I don't buy the whole "fat is ugly" thing; I guess none of you have ever heard of the bear community?"

    Does being a bear equate to being obese? Hairy, yes. Big, yes. Obese? Don't think so.

    I have never met any gay man in my entire life who considered being grossly overweight an attractive trait, but maybe there are one or two out there, somewhere.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 14, 2012 3:00:53 PM


  13. Rick, ... Jesus Christ, the things that come out of your mouth.

    Posted by: screech | Jun 14, 2012 3:01:51 PM


  14. Rick, ... Jesus Christ, the things that come out of your mouth.

    Posted by: screech | Jun 14, 2012 3:01:58 PM


  15. This reminds me of "Black Like Me," a book that came out in the sixties where a white guy took pigment pills, posed as black and went wandering around getting oppressed for his book.

    Posted by: AdamK | Jun 14, 2012 3:02:54 PM


  16. "I don't buy the whole "fat is ugly" thing; I guess none of you have ever heard of the bear community?"

    Is being a bear defined as being fat? Hairy, yes. Big, yes. Obese? Don't think so.

    I have never come across any gay man in any "community" who thought that being grossly overweight was an attractive trait, but maybe there are one or two out there, somewhere.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 14, 2012 3:03:51 PM


  17. Or Rick.. as in your case, Arrogant and Stupid and gay?

    Posted by: theotherlee | Jun 14, 2012 3:04:46 PM


  18. But didn't he say that part of the reason for his "experiment" and the book was to document his evolution from homophobe to being enlightened about Gays?

    And yeah, he's overweight, but who says he's unattractive?

    Some of the longest running Gay partnerships (marriages) I've seen are between heavy people.

    Being "pretty" aint gonna' get you much. Maybe an STD or two.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 14, 2012 3:07:35 PM


  19. I think I know very well what it's like to be gay and unattractive. I haven't gotten f*cked since the days of Segregation. Can't you tell? The shallow gay queens of this so-called community make it very clear that I'm so ugly I couldn't get f***ed if I fell ass-first onto a cock factory.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 14, 2012 3:08:42 PM


  20. actually, his face looks quite handsome.

    yeah, he's a little on the heavy side but he may be more "big boned" (as they say in the South) than anything else.

    I know quite a few guys that would find him quite attractive...

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 14, 2012 3:17:17 PM


  21. Getting f*cked, in your case, may have less to do with your physical appearance, and more to do with your attitude. As far as I know, you've never shared a pic. So that's purely conjecture on my part.

    Posted by: theotherlee | Jun 14, 2012 3:19:07 PM


  22. @Rick:

    I think I know very well what it's like to be gay and unattractive. I haven't gotten f*cked since the days of Segregation. Can't you tell? The shallow gay queens of this so-called community make it very clear that I'm so ugly I couldn't get f***ed if I fell ass-first onto a cock factory.

    Goodness, Rick; yes, gay men can be particularly picky about beauty and youth (and penis size) but hardly all, surely there are pleasant, balanced gay men out there who would like you regardless of your (perceived, and I am sure exaggerated) shortcomings.

    We aren't ALL dizzy, disco, size-queen, youth-obsessives, you know; some of us value personality, humor, intelligence and experience, also.


    Posted by: Mundus | Jun 14, 2012 3:20:35 PM


  23. But Mundus, if we are to go by his posting history here as a sign of what he is in everyday life... even those of us that value personality, humor intelligence and experience wouldn't be too attracted to Rick. lol

    Posted by: theotherlee | Jun 14, 2012 3:23:38 PM


  24. When I was growing up there was a family next door with three daughters each of whom tipped the scales.

    Everyone used to say how they had "such pretty faces" and "lovely personalities".

    Posted by: Bemused | Jun 14, 2012 3:24:12 PM


  25. No, I'm a very handsome masculine man it's just that you effeminate queens are scared of masculine men and pretend you find me ugly. I'm the handsomest man ever, but I'm not effeminate enough for you limp-wristed queens.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 14, 2012 3:24:19 PM


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