My name is Kevin. I am 41 years old, and I am a walking miracle. The man I am today is not the man I have always been. My life has been radically changed. 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. My father was seldom around when I was growing up, but when he was, he was verbally, physically, and often sexually, abusive. He said his treatment of me 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 and learn about God. Those memories were very fond ones. My aunt’s husband was a conservative Baptist preacher. He was really the only positive male role model in my life other than my male cousins. However, I wasn’t given the opportunity to be around him a lot except in the summer, when I was out of school.
My childhood was difficult because I wasn’t as masculine as other boys. I was severely bullied in school because I wasn’t “manly” enough. I despised school. I hated going so much that I would hide in the closet in my room or go to the bus stop, but would 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 that label seemed to form my identity for years to follow.
I really hated that I was so effeminate. I tried to be more masculine. I played sports, wore biker clothes, and tried dressing like a cowboy, but none of my attempts to fit in were successful. I really tried everything I could to change my image, but nothing worked. I was a very sad, lonely boy with no friends.
In my early teen years, I began to be very confused about my sexuality. I prayed at night that I would die in my sleep so I would not have to tell my family that I was gay. When I was in the 9th grade, I finally made a friend with whom I had a lot in common. We hung out together at school and spent the night at each other’s homes. I was so excited to have a real friend. By the time I was fourteen years old, he was staying the night with me. One morning he said, “Let’s go out to the woods,” 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 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, and I didn’t want to lose the only friend I ever had.
Many years passed before I told anyone about that rape and the abuse I suffered from my father. I finally confided in my grandmother. We were drinking coffee around her kitchen table when she said “Kevin, you just have so much hate in your heart. Something terrible must have happened to you. I love you. You can tell me anything.” I opened up to her and shared my fear, pain and rejection. We began crying together and she prayed for me.
I began having same sex attractions at a pretty young age. 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. For the first time in my life I was considered a cool kid. I finally felt normal.
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 by dressing in drag. It started out as a fun Halloween costume, and everyone said I was so beautiful. The attention and recognition of dressing in 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 sordid beginning of the next twenty years living a 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, I got into the club scene. Soon after, I started working in the adult industry as a transsexual prostitute. I thought this career would be temporary, but I saw how much money I could make, so I continued. I was earning around $1,000 a day and became addicted to the money. It supported my heavy drinking habit and lavish lifestyle. I couldn’t do drag or prostitute myself without being drunk. I lived my life as a female for years because I felt accepted this way. I was beautiful. People, mainly men, made me feel sexy and wanted.
Finally, I began to realize how toxic and addictive my lifestyle had become. Many friends and acquaintances died young from HIV, and I saw others ruin their lives with drug and alcohol addictions. I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I constantly asked myself, “What would happen if I were to die?” I lived in great anxiety and fear. At times I was afraid to close my eyes to sleep at night. I gave up on God. All I had ever been taught by the church was that gay people were going to hell and their punishment from God was to contract 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. My positivity and wit made me a successful drag emcee.
Last year, I moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in hopes of getting away from all of the drama that accompanied the gay Dallas lifestyle. I wanted to start a new life. In Florida, I quickly became involved in drag shows. I hosted 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 male stripper working at the same club 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 my perverted existence, I was hospitalized with pneumonia and remembered how toxic my lifestyle had become. I was suffering in south Florida with no family or support, so I decided to return 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, so I went to be kind. God grabbed my attention. I saw this modern-day version of the resurrection of Jesus Christ being played out on stage and I began to cry. I saw all that Jesus had done for me, and the lifestyle I was living was not honoring Him. The preacher asked if anyone was ready to accept Christ. I bowed my head and prayed and invited Him into my heart. That was the first day of my walk with Christ. When I spoke 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 I went back to a drag show, and the emcee announced on the microphone, “Look out! 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 to attend 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 so I asked to be tested again, and I was still negative.
God answered my prayers. My heart began to dramatically change. I was at work one day when I realized that I had a pastor’s number from Living Hope–a ministry to reach the gay community for Christ–in my cell phone. My sister gave me the number years before. I gave Living Hope a call, scheduled an intake interview, and began attending classes. I was always taught that homosexuality was a sin and I believed 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 and was unsuccessful.
As I drove all the way across town for my intake interview, I had lots of thoughts going through my mind. 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, Daryl, one of the leaders, greeted me. He had such a loving presence. It was very different from what I expected. I began attending Living Hope that same night, and the love that Jesus showed me changed my life drastically. I learned from Ricky Chelette, the pastor at Living Hope, that 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 God’s 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 showed me the love that Jesus has for me. All of their teachings come from a place of love, not condemnation. Contrary to some local media sources, I can honestly tell you that anti, ex, cure, or hate does not describe the heart of their ministry. Proper adjectives to describe this ministry would be loving, caring, kind, agape, and the list goes on and on. The teachings of this ministry came from the fruit of the spirit, love. They love people into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and the rest is left with Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “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, but from my experience the opposite is true. We have to be able to resist the temptations in our daily lives. 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 that 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. He is using me to share my experiences to help others going through the same things. No sin is too great for God to handle. In fact, what Christ did on the cross erased all of the sins of my past. He doesn’t even remember any of my past sins when I repented and came to Jesus. Just understanding forgiveness gave me so much peace in my heart. Today, I can honestly say that I have no desire for men, porn, masturbation, or to be a woman or drag queen. Instead, I 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. God’s love created me to be a man! Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created Him.” God’s Word tells me that God 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. God can. I am a unique individual, and God loves me completely just as I am. After all, I am His creation! In the words of Sy Rogers, “What you see in me is just the residue of my past.” I am a transformed man of God and child of the King!
Kevin Whitt is available to tell his story to your church. You may contact him at email@example.com. Pray for God to continue to use him.