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Randy Thomas tells his story

July 05, 2013 By: Tom Coy Category: testimony

May 7, 2013

The following excerpt is the beginning of Randy Thomas’s article “God Used a Drag Queen to Save My Life – Paying it Forward” on Randy Thomas’s website: “My first 19 years of life were kind of messed up. Let me explain.”

“I was not raised in the church and while I did claim to be Christian, I had no clue what “salvation” actually meant. I truly thought Jesus and Moses were cousins. I imagined John the Baptist as some type of primitive hippie. When I was a kid, I would look through the bible my father had left behind when he left us, and the pictures always stood out to me. I loved those pictures.”

“Even so, I grew up hating Christians.”

“I hated them, from the self-righteous mockers in the pulpit of a church I visited for six months as a 6th grader to the televangelist that equated my newly embraced (at 13) gay identity to being a ‘pedophile in the making.’ I detested Christians and their condescending, arrogant, and ignorant sanctimony.”

“‘Coming Out’ got me ‘Thrown Out’”

“Then, at 19, my Mom discovered something that would upend both of our worlds. While she was doing laundry, she found an invitation in my pocket to a gay Valentine’s Day party. There was no mistaking that it was quite the gay affair.”

“My mother, the only person I respected at that time, gave me my first theology lesson concerning sexuality. She informed me that God hated fags and I was going to burn forever in hell. This is ironic because when I was a kid she told me when no one else in the world loved me, she and God would. Well, apparently that wasn’t completely true if I was invited to a gay party.”

“Sidenote. I must say that today I have a much better relationship with my Mother. She’s an amazing woman and she knows now that God does love me. But back then, a false application of the gospel was the only spiritual response she knew to the issue of homosexuality. Knowing that she truly is incredible and loving, you will see the actions I am about to share with you as ‘jarring.’ It should be jarring because it was a horrible night.”

“That night Mom yelled, ‘YOU HAVE ONE HOUR TO GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE! You can keep what you shove into your car but you will never come back here. This is not your home. You are to never come by the store (we owned a clothing store) and never talk to your brother again!’”

“Numb and terrified, I hurriedly shoved my clothes, knick-knacks, stereo, everything I could put my hands on into my little Aries K car. On the 59th minute of that final hour I left the house and stayed away for over five years and have never lived with them again.”

“I lived out of that little car for the next three weeks.”

“Mella on stage. You might see a female impersonator, I see a personal hero.”

“The Lord Sends A Unique Messenger”

“Then one night, my boyfriend Jeff (a toxic relationship that lasted about 18 months) called me at the convenience store I worked at and said he told a mutual friend about my plight. This friend was a drag queen named Carmella Marcella Garcia, Girl!, and my boyfriend told Mella all about my situation. And Mella, George Timothy Reed off-stage, told my boyfriend to tell me to get my ass over to his place immediately. So as soon as I could, I drove over to his condo. On the way there I slid on some ice and hit a tree. It only dinged my car a little, but it served as confirmation that my life truly, in every way possible, sucked.”

“When I showed up at Mella’s, door I was as desperate as I have ever been in my life. I hadn’t had a shower in a while and my car looked like a refugee camp on wheels. I walked to his front door ashamed of how I looked, how I smelled, how nobody would have me, and ready to give up. It was the only time in my life I truly considered suicide.”

“So yes, I am able to sympathize with young gay teens being bullied, abused, and left homeless by religious intolerance. I know what it is like to be desperate, alone, and confused to the point of contemplating suicide.”

“Mella opened the door and he was obviously getting ready for a show. With arched eyebrows, some kind of thing on his head to pull his hair back, a muumuu (I think it was a muumuu type of dress) he welcomed me into his home.”

“… in Jesus name.”

“Yes, you read that right. A drag queen invited me into his home in Jesus’ name. He said he welcomed me because he knew that was what his Lord would want him to do. He also cooked me a wonderful down-home southern meal. He couldn’t join me because he was in a hurry to get to the club for his show. I don’t think I said much except ‘thank you.’ I wasn’t a talker at that point in my life. Very shut down in many ways. All Mella said was,”

“‘God loves you and we have to look out for each other, especially when people hurt and hate us.’ He said, ‘I am not going to charge you rent except to ask that someday down the road you return the favor for another young gay person who might be homeless and helpless just for being who they are. Now go on and get some of that good food!’”

“As I prepared my plate I wept. Here, 26 years later as I write this article, I can still smell those beans and the cornbread. I sat down at his table and forgot about how I smelled and the chaos in my newly dinged up car. I forgot about hellfire, brimstone, and my crying mother.”

“For the first time I felt unconditionally accepted. For the first time I considered God as kind of cool. Staying alive might actually be worth it.”

“Surprisingly, when you are desperately hungry and dirty, it’s not difficult at all to eat and weep at the same time.”

“I was a substance abuser and because of that I didn’t stay long in Mella’s house. I moved on and was transient for the better part of the next two years. Eventually I joined a 12-step program (still hating Christians) and that program was used by the Lord to save my life yet again.” …

The rest of the article can be found on Randy’s website.