I Don't Even Hate Him for That,
But It Just Hurts Me
Jamiel Terry talks about why he came out in print and growing up the gay son of Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry.
BY: Interview by Paul O'Donnell
On Thursday, both Jamiel and Randall Terry gave extraordinary interviews to Beliefnet editor Paul O'Donnell. Below, Jamiel explains that he wrote the article because "I wanted my father to see I'm not going to hell," but says that he still loves his father. Randall says that Jamiel is "bringing great sadness to our home and embarrassment to our family."
Did Out come to you?
I made contact with them.
Why did you feel you had to write it?
I felt it would be freeing for me. Most of our family friends had no idea that I was gay, and most of my mother's side of the family didn't know. For my own journey, I felt I needed to come out. My dad talks about the money. Originally, I was going to do an interview, which I would not have been paid for. When it changed to a freelance situation, they paid the normal fee.
Is it the figure [$5,000] that your father's claiming?
No, it's lower than that.
Are you in financial difficulty [as your father said in his op-ed]?
Not anymore than any normal 24-year-old college student.
|"If I could choose my life, I definitely would not choose to be gay, especially in the family that I live in."|
You must have known that this would embarrass your father.
Well, sure, I knew it would embarrass him, but the fact is those are his own issues. If he would be embarrassed by my being gay, then he has issues. So that's not my problem. I wouldn't say he is embarrassed by my being gay. One thing that really, really hurts me is that the things he says about me [in his op-ed] probably took place during a seven month period, the darkest time of my life, when I was literally on the verge of suicide, and constantly talking to him about the fact that I was on the verge of suicide.
When was that?
September 2002 to probably May 2003.
Was that when he says you asked him to pay for you to go for treatment [for homosexuality]?
Well, that's not true. I think it was right after the DWI charge. He said, "I want you to go to this thing Love in Action and I'll pay for you to go." I was a manager where I was working and it was Christmas season. I said, "I can't leave right now."
My father has to understand the intense, almost idolatry we kids have for him. When he's talking, he just convinces you to do something, even when you don't want to do it. If I could choose my life, I definitely would not choose to be gay, especially in the family that I live in.