on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Part IX — My Coming Out Story

This is the ninth in a series on “One Christian Minister’s Response to Homosexuality.” (updated April 2013)

Mary and Malcolm, life partners

I have been wanting to say this publicly for most of my adult life, but I have been afraid to admit this to myself, to my loved ones and to my friends.  I was afraid what my family would think or say or do.  I did not want to hurt them.  I’ve always wanted them to be proud of me.  I’ve tried hard to be who they wanted me to be.   But, I have to be who I am, who I believe God created me to be.

I know that some of you have been wondering about my sexual orientation.  I have wanted to be truthful about my feelings from the time I went to seminary, became a pastor in rural Kentucky, and worked on the church staff of two churches full-time in Kentucky and Connecticut.  What I am trying to say is I know that at least a few of you have wondered if I am straight or gay for all of these years especially since I worked as a Chaplain in an HIV?AIDS clinic for 15 years.

So, during this month of my 31st anniversary of my ordination in full-time ministry, I have decided to come out of the closet.

Here goes.  Deep breath.

I am straight. There, I said it.  It is true, I am a heterosexual. While I prefer you refer to me as “straight,” I know others are more comfortable with the term “heterosexual” or “hetero.”  Either are better than some names I’ve heard.  Some of you are probably saying you knew it all along and it does not come as a surprise to you.  For others, I realize this may come as a shock and I hope and pray you will still love me regardless.  I am the same person you have known for all these years.  But from this day forward, I’m not looking back. I’m choosing to move forward as a child of God.

Maybe one of the easiest ways I can answer many of your questions is to just answer the TOP TEN questions I have been asked over the years.

1.  When did you first decide to become a heterosexual?

I knew in the first grade when I loved sitting by Andrea in our reading group in elementary school in Montgomery.   We even secretly told one another we were boyfriend and girlfriend, but neither of us knew what that meant so nothing happened.  I have felt this attraction towards girls for as long as I can remember.

2.  What do you think caused you to be a heterosexual?

Now that I am in my 50′s, I see life differently than I when I was younger.  I look back and believe God created me to be a “hetero.”   I always had a very close relationship with my mother.  Tragically she died when I was ten and I used to think I was maybe straight because I’ve always wanted to love a woman the way I loved her, since she was the center of my universe. But now I know that her death was not the cause of me becoming a heterosexual.  I have been this way all my life.

3.  Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase that will change?

No, it is not a phase.  I can’t imagine what it is like being with a man sexually. It is very natural for me to be attracted to a woman.

4.  If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer that?

Well, that’s personal.  But let me put it this way, I just don’t have the sexual attraction and desire for a person of the same gender, though I have many close friends who are male.  Does that make sense?

5.  Why do you heterosexuals insist on flaunting public displays of affection with a partner?

I agree it is uncomfortable for me when I see people hanging all over each another in public.  I recently sat behind a man and woman in church, and they either had their arms around each other or held hands during the whole service.  It was distracting.  But I do admit I like to hold my partner’s hand when we walk together, or give her a little kiss on the lips when I am leaving home or when I see her initially in public.  I don’t mean to be offensive with my PDA, it just the way I feel.

6.  Why are heterosexuals so promiscuous?

I admit that many fellow heterosexuals are promiscuous and they get a lot of media attention. Politicians, sports figures, movie stars, and clergy do not always help our reputation as straight folks.  Of course, I can only speak for me.  I have been faithful to my partner.

7.  What do you believe the Bible and God thinks about heterosexuals? 

Well, I believe that God loves all of God’s creation.  Since I’m a Christian, I believe God loved me so much that God sent God’s Son to show me and others how we should live.  I know God must be disappointed with many of us as heterosexuals.  We all fall short.  All of us.   I am thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness.

8.  How can you enjoy a fully satisfying sexual experience with a person of the opposite sex when the physical, biological, and psychological differences between you are so great?

No comment.  Next question.

9.  Why do you think heterosexuals are so unhappy?

There are many reasons straight people are unhappy.  Sometimes we try to find happiness in what we can buy, or through sex, or drugs, or alcohol.  Sometimes we are unhappy because we are disconnected from our Creator.  I can think of hundreds of reasons why heterosexuals are unhappy, as well as a few homosexuals I know.

10.  Why are heterosexuals always trying to seduce others into their sexual orientation?

I have never tried to seduce another person to change them into being a heterosexual.  I can only speak for myself.

So there it is for all the world to see in bold letters.


I hope you will still love me, because this is who I am.  We all want to love someone, and want to be loved by our beloved.

Thanks for listening.



  1. Lia


    I always knew you were straight. We used to snicker behind your back, “He’s so STRAIGHT!” I am glad you have admitted it to yourself and admitted it to all of us.

    We loved you all along.

  2. Nanci WArner

    I love you anyway, dear Malcolm.

  3. Cinda

    Perfect! Absolutely perfect!

  4. Joe

    I suspected this Malcolm, though my suspicions were based on sterotypes and rumors. But I have learned over the years to accept and love those who are different, and my love for you is not changed by your coming out. Be strong, and don’t let those who try to change you from how God created you have their way.

  5. Chris

    Question #8…how can you raise a question and not answer it? Duh! LOL Glad you’re my colleague and friend and helping all of us think.

  6. Mitch Coggin

    Wow!!! Amazing way to invite thinking, discussion, and acceptance. I have never encountered a more brilliant approach to help us examine our stereotypes and misconceptions. Thank you Malcolm for your sensitivity, understanding and compassion that lifts up rather than tears down, encourages rather than criticizes, and supports rather than sensationalizes!

  7. Malcolm

    Thanks, I appreciate your comments so much. Peace and grace to you all!

  8. Suzann Smith

    I always knew I liked you…

  9. Bettina

    How funny. It was good to see you today.

  10. Wow. Thank you. You show the absurdity of the questions so well.

  11. Rebecca

    Well, since you are being so open, honest and up-front about it, I am inspired to come out too. Even though it is not always a group that I am proud to be a part of, I too am a heterosexual. Thanks for giving us courage to admit it. Seriously, I still anxiously await the day when our society is truly color-blind and beauty-blind, is it too much to hope that one day the question of sexual orientation will go by the wayside as well? I’m so glad to know you, Malcolm, and to benefit from all that you bring to life!

  12. Malcolm

    What an amazing group all of you are! Thanks so much for adding your comments!

  13. Harry

    Malcolm- I loved the way you “outed” yourself! Know that you are much loved and greatly appreciated.

  14. carol openshaw

    Malcolm, You sure a great person. Please let that attitude always be with you.

  15. Bart

    Now it can be told!

  16. Danny Calloway

    Well, Malcolm, my “gaydar” has never gone off for all the years that we’ve known one another. But, even as a third grader at Davis Elementary, I always thought that that new first grader was kinda cute; but just didn’t know why I’d think that- THEN, anyway. I’ve always loved you and admired you and yes even found you just a little too HOT for a straight guy, but know that I could NOT go THERE! You’ve done something with your words that brings both out-loud laughter and just a small tear for those who do not happen to be of the same “orientation.” I now know for sure that you know, as many of the rest of those of us persons of faith, in particular, that God made us in the God’s image! Heaven holds a most special place for you! Just don’t invite me to your parades!

  17. Barry Vaughn

    Does this mean that Bishop Gene Robinson and his church members are going to march around your church at every opportunity, holding up big signs that say “God hates straights”?????

  18. Janet Griffin

    I am sitting here laughing this morning. I missed this one for some reason. You are clever and sensitive and loving and full of humor. What a wonderful lesson in moving us all forward. A column for the newspaper????? Remember Clettus Atkinson? Thank you for being in the world Malcolm.

  19. Malcolm

    Hi Janet, I appreciate you finding this blog post on me being straight. And I’m so thankful you love me anyway.

    Peace to you,

    P.S. In regards to a newspaper article, hmmm, well that would certainly be one way for me to pretty much be OUT for sure, huh? I’ll think about it 🙂

  20. Laura Smith

    I went to Davis Elementary in Montgomery!!! I was there from 1971 to 1973, 5th and 6th grade! I went to Bellingrath after that…I dont remember you but it was amazing to see you went there too…I followed a friend’s link on facebook to your blog.

    Reply and let me know if we were there at the same time!!


  21. Malcolm

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks so much for your connection of our past. I was ahead of you by 4 or so years, which of course in middle school and high school is a tremendous age difference. As we get older, not so much.

    Anyway, I hope you are well and welcome to my blog!

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