Although he grew up believing that homosexuality was a sin, in 2010 Timothy Kurek, of Nashville, Tennessee, spent the entire year pretending to be gay in an attempt to truly understand and empathize with what homosexual people go through.
Kurek’s social experiment is extraordinary, given the kind of upbringing he had as a conservative Christian deep in America’s Bible belt. “You learned to be very afraid of God,” he said. “The loving thing to do is to tell my friend who is gay, ‘Hey, listen, you are an abomination and you need to repent to go to heaven.’ I absolutely believed in that lock, stock, and barrel.”
In fact, Kurek was so devout as a teenager that his parents’ friends would routinely ask him to set their kids straight for misbehaving. “I would be on the phone until four in the morning, asking them to repent for their sins,” he said.