News | Tennessee | Thomas Roberts

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


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 — something of a 21st century update of Gentlemen's Agreement — 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.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. He is on our side. Thank him.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 14, 2012 9:42:52 PM

  2. He is on our side. Thank him.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 14, 2012 9:42:54 PM

  3. He is on our side. Thank him.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 14, 2012 9:42:55 PM

  4. He is on our side. Thank him.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 14, 2012 9:42:55 PM

  5. @Dave: What are you smoking? I'm Christian and I'm gay. I'm not infiltrating group, nor am I trying to convert anyone.

    I've never heard of any Christian group intentionally "infiltrating" anyone. Christians are not C.I.A. or F.B.I. Do fundamentalist Christians want to convert folks? Yes. Do they sometimes (or often) lie in their efforts? Yes. But to become infiltrating spies? Seriously? Again, what are you smoking?

    Posted by: William | Jun 14, 2012 9:47:36 PM

  6. I really liked him. He was very sweet and didn't pretend like he knew everything because of this experience. Very cool

    Posted by: AwesomeSauce | Jun 14, 2012 10:37:19 PM

  7. Mirror, mirror on the wall: who is the fairest of us all? Its Ricky. How do I know? That lying bastard said so.

    Posted by: andrew | Jun 14, 2012 11:24:57 PM

  8. how far did he ''pretend'' to be gay?..did he take it up the ass?

    Posted by: Jamie | Jun 14, 2012 11:33:35 PM

  9. I guess I'm a little confused by the point of the experiment. Was it to understand what gay people are like to shatter his past misconceptions? Or was it to better understand the persecution gays deal with when coming out, based on what happened to his friend? If it's the latter, which it seems to be, then why hang out in a gay neighborhood?

    Posted by: Stefan | Jun 15, 2012 1:26:54 PM

  10. This one's kind of a hot topic right now...

    I actually support him in his efforts here. I give him credit for walking a mile in our shoes, so to speak. He seems like an honest ally who is trying to educate the public and speak up for equality.

    But I probably don't care enough to buy the book :)

    Posted by: Lucas | Jun 15, 2012 1:53:10 PM

  11. I still can't stand Thomas Roberts. He's so smug and prissy. I hope he goes the way of Rick Sanchez and Keith Olbermann. There are so many gay newscasters. This guy's no Anderson Cooper. Anderson has class.

    Posted by: Ed | Jun 15, 2012 5:56:16 PM

  12. What he did was highly commendable and he's exemplary in his world. I can't believe some of these stupid hateful comments above. They're just as bad as some hateful religious right commentary we see / hear every day. People are so disappointing, sometimes, no matter what the sex.

    Posted by: DCMichael | Jun 15, 2012 6:42:35 PM

  13. I look at Mr. Kurek as if he were a kind of anthropologist. He had the curiosity and courage to challenge his own beliefs, to go out into the world and observe. It wouldn't surprise me if he made some acquaintances, perhaps some friends. To an extent, his bearishness would have protected him from aggressive come-ons; it's an acquired taste, to my mind. That protection, in turn, helped him to be more comfortable as an "inside observer." (It would be very interesting to have a hot and hunky straight guy try this same experiment, then compare notes with Mr. Kurek.) If the book ever comes out, I'll be interested to read it and learn how he feels bearing the label of gay impacted his life. Given some friends who were accidentally outed, I could make some predictions. But that didn't happen in Nashville.

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Jun 15, 2012 6:57:30 PM

  14. Does there exist a gay newspaper that doesn't kiss ass? Better love everyone like Mr. Roberts, or you don't exist. This isn't a real news source, It's getting a bit Huffington Post like with its' editing. I guess a picture of a hunky dead guy is worth more than an honest critique of a living one. Honesty is not a policy.

    Posted by: Happy | Jun 15, 2012 7:36:16 PM

  15. I feel my family has been invaded and exploited.

    As I told every straight MOTOS who came onto me in my younger years: "I'm not going to be your experiment." (OK, OK, that was after I made the mistake of sleeping with the first few -- but I quickly realized my dignity is worth far more than being somebody's f-puppet solely for their "experimentation.")

    Mr. Kurek played a funny game with his family, his str8 friends, and with a community that accepted him for who he said he was, presumably trusted him, and which has now learned that it was all just an "experiment."

    Did Mr. Kurek ever consider what might have happened if some man had fallen in love with him (fake beard "boyfriend" or none)? The game wouldn't have been so funny then.

    I don't think Mr. Kurek has learned the most important lesson of all: We are not bugs under a glass put on earth solely for his edification (or book sales). How... arrogant. How solipsistic!

    In the meantime, because of the novelty of Mr. Kurek's little "experiment" (and his endless interviews with everyone who will give him the time of day right up until the date of his book release), HIS voice will drown out the voices of those of us who really have suffered the lifelong pain he had the privilege of sloughing off after one lousy year -- and the voices of those of us who have spent our lives telling our very real stories.

    No sale here, Timmy. If you really wanted to understand, if you wanted to be an ally, you could have just LISTENED to us. You could have lived amongst the LGBT community as a str8 man, honestly eager and anxious to learn. Hell, I would have befriended you -- but only as YOU, not as some "drag" version of you. ("Jesus In Drag" -- gawd almighty, the title alone is insulting.)

    Now, you're just... like the Great White Hope that appears in so many movies who comes along to "save" the poor black folks who don't seem to have a voice of their own. Well, guess what? They have a voice -- but not many people are listening. And that "voice" the white character lends to the story is as counterfeit as that of...

    ...well, as that of a str8 man congratulating himself for becoming so evolved by gaining the trust of, and then betraying, a community that has had more than its fill of infiltrators, liars, and players.

    "Black Like Me" was more than 50 years ago. "Immersion journalism" (if you can call this "journalism") was about the only option there was... 50 years ago. Now, it's not necessary. Now, you can't throw a rock (or post a blog comment) without hitting somebody who would have been more than happy to take Mr. Kurek on a tour of our world.

    If only you had done that, Mr. Kurek -- ASKED the LGBT community to help you, and then gotten to know us as living, breathing, joyful, hurting individuals... as YOURSELF.

    No sale, Timmy. No sale.

    Posted by: ConBab | Jun 21, 2012 12:10:11 AM

  16. Geeze. Some folks here read one article and see one interview and think they have it all figured out. Let it go. I also feel it was unfair for him to tell his family that his experience was an experiment. How supportive would they have been if they thought he was actually gay? But let's look at his stated purpose and what good could come from his attempt. I'm not saying this isn't a little odd, but let's see how it turns out. And then let's talk about all the judgment in these comments. You judge people, you get judged (for being "bitchy", in this case). (in others' words, not mine) Just look how people react to you after your judgmental comments here.

    Posted by: noteasilyoffended | Oct 14, 2012 8:54:56 AM

  17. « 1 2 3 4

Post a comment


« «ACLU Sues North Carolina Over 'Second Parent' Adoption« «