"Most of us reach at least one pivotal moment in our lives that better defines who we are."
So wrote Trey Pearson, a bestselling Christian rock artist, in a letter to his fans revealing that he is gay.
Pearson, 35, who fronts the band Everyday Sunday and "grew up in a very conservative Christian home," said he has known he was gay for over 20 years.
Even while hiding his sexuality, as a teenager, Pearson said he found solace in the loving depiction of close male friendships in the Bible.
"I found so much comfort as a teen in 1 Samuel 18-20 and the intimacy of Jonathan and David," he wrote in the letter, first published in Religion News Service.
While Pearson says he doesn't know what coming out will mean for his marriage and his career, he knew he could no longer deny who he was.
Though he wrote that he regrets the confusion and pain his wife has endured as a result of his announcement, Pearson realized that coming out wasn't just the right thing to do, it was the only thing for him to do.
Here's the full, gripping text of his letter (emphasis mine):
To my fans and friends:
Most of us reach at least one pivotal moment in our lives that better defines who we are.
These last several months have been the hardest — but have also ended up being the most freeing months — of my life.
To make an extremely long story short, I have come to be able to admit to myself, and to my family, that I am gay.
I grew up in a very conservative Christian home where I was taught that my sexual orientation was a matter of choice, and had put all my faith into that. I had never before admitted to myself that I was gay, let alone to anyone else. I never wanted to be gay. I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it never was an option for me. I have been suppressing these attractions and feelings since adolescence. I’ve tried my whole life to be straight. I married a girl, and I even have two beautiful little kids. My daughter, Liv, is six and my son, Beckham, is two.
I had always romanticized the idea of falling in love with a woman; and having a family had always been my dream. In many ways, that dream has come true. But I have also come to realize a lot of time has passed in my life pushing away, blocking out and not dealing with real feelings going on inside of me. I have tried not to be gay for more than 20 years of my life. I found so much comfort as a teen in 1 Samuel 18-20 and the intimacy of Jonathan and David. I thought and hoped that such male intimacy could fulfill that void I felt in my desire for male companionship. I always thought if I could find these intimate friendships, then that would be enough.
Then I thought everything would come naturally on my wedding night. I honestly had never even made out with a girl before I got married. Of course, it felt anything but natural for me. Trying not to be gay, has only led to a desire for intimacy in friendships which pushed friends away, and it has resulted in a marriage where I couldn’t love or satisfy my wife in a way that she needed. Still, I tried to convince myself that this was what God wanted and that this would work. I thought all of those other feelings would stay away if I could just do this right.
When Lauren and I got married, I committed to loving her to the best of my ability, and I had the full intention of spending the rest of my life with her. Despite our best efforts, however, I have come to accept that there is nothing that is going to change who I am.
I have intensely mixed feelings about the changes that have resulted in my life. While I regret the way I was taught to handle this growing up, how much it has hurt me and the unintentional pain I have brought Lauren, I wouldn’t have the friendship I now have with her, and we wouldn’t have our two amazing, beautiful children. But if I keep trying to push this down it will end up hurting her even more.
I am never going to be able to change how I am, and no matter how healthy our relationship becomes, it’s never going to change what I know deep down: that I am gay. Lauren has been the most supportive, understanding, loving and gracious person I could ever ask for, as I have come to face this. And now I am trying to figure out how to co-parent while being her friend, and how to raise our children.
I have progressed so much in my faith over these last several years. I think I needed to be able to affirm other gay people before I could ever accept it for myself. Likewise, I couldn’t expect others to accept me how I am until I could come to terms with it first.
I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.
In sharing this publicly I’m taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It’s not only an idea for me that I’m gay; It’s my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am.
I hope people will hear my heart, and that I will still be loved. I’m still the same guy, with the same heart, who wants to love God and love people with everything I have. This is a part of me I have come to be able to accept, and now it is a part of me that you know as well. I trust God to help love do the rest.
Pearson is one of several Christian rock stars to come out in the past few years.
Like them, he faces an uphill battle. Many of Pearson's cohorts who have declared themselves openly gay — including Anthony Williams, Jennifer Knapp, Ray Boltz, and Vicky Beeching — have seen their careers stall out as some churches and faith-based radio stations refuse to play their music, according to a Washington Post report.
Though Pearson knows he now faces a number of new challenges, he wants fans to know he hasn't changed.
"I’m still the same guy, with the same heart, who wants to love God and love people with everything I have," Pearson wrote.
Above all else, he hopes his fans will accept him as he has finally learned to accept himself.
"I trust God to help love do the rest," Pearson wrote.