Once upon a time, there were two rival tribes. The names of the tribes and their location are irrelevant, just pay attention.
At night, drums and yelling and laughter could be heard in the distance from one of the tribes. One night, one of the younger members from the other tribe decided that he wanted to get a closer look. He got close enough to see from a tree and marveled. Every night, he went up in the tree and pretended he was one of them, as he danced and celebrated in his mind.
One night while in the tree, he decided to get a closer look. He inched down a branch, not realizing that it couldn't hold his weight. He fell to ground, grabbing the attention of the other tribe. They cut his body to pieces and then they ate him. The end. The moral of the story is: Don't pretend to be on the other side because you might get caught up...and get eaten.
I thought about that old fable that I just made up when I read about Timothy Kurek, the self-proclaimed Christian from Tennessee who says that he went undercover as a gay man for one year. He recalled a time a lesbian friend came out to her family. She cried in his arms as she told him how horribly they treated her. Instead of consoling her, he wanted to convert her. That's when he realized that he needed understanding about the LGBT community. He would go undercover for one year as a gay man.
Soon, he was telling his family, friends and church congregation that he was gay. According to Kurek, only an Aunt and two friends knew about the experiment. One of those friends, who is gay, played Kurek's boyfriend. In order to get the full experience, he got a job at a gay cafe, joined an all-gay softball league, and even hung out at gay bars.
During the experiment, he said that around 95% of his friends stopped talking to him. He also said that he looked in his mother's diary when she wasn't around, and saw an entry saying how she would rather be told that she was dying of cancer than to have a gay son.
He said that his experiment helped him understand not only how hard it is to live "in the closet", but other things like how open and flirtatious gay people are. He wrote a book called "The cross in the Closet", detailing life as a gay man.
I don't know what to say about this. Some people are built for doing experiments like this. Maybe he genuinely wanted to see what it was like to be gay. Maybe this was a test run for his friends and family for when he decides to "come out" for real. I'll never know. I just can't see the whole hanging out at the clubs and public displays of affection with the fake boyfriend. The first sign of my mother's heart being broken because of some game I was playing would've made me quit. Or at least tell her that it was an experiment.
I can't see myself going undercover as a crackhead just because society looks down upon them. I can't see myself hanging out in abandon dwellings and alleys doing crack at all times of the night for a year and not develop a taste for crack. I'm just saying.
Kudous for Kurek, and I hope he didn't compromise his values just because he wanted to see how green the grass is on the other side. I can't imagine how everyone felt when he told them that it was just an experiment.
Do you think it was smart for Kurek to do what he did? Do you think he was affected more than he lets on? Would you go undercover just to understand a different lifestyle?