Kevin overheard his father telling a friend on the phone: "My son thinks he's a woman now." Later Kevin returned home to find his father in a rage. "Get out of my house right now," his father said, according to Kevin, who packed a few things and left.
He spent that night in a homeless shelter in Hartford, sleeping on a couch alongside drug addicts. Scared, he turned to his high-school therapist. "She decided I needed to go to the hospital again," he says. "Because I wasn't all there. I was having panic attacks. Like, lots of them. I'd be lying down, and all of a sudden I'd wake up and I can't breathe."
During the six-month stay in the state psychiatric hospital for children that followed, Kevin joined a support group that made him feel more at peace with his sexuality. When he was discharged, he decided to get his own apartment and enroll in college. He now lives alone in a sparsely furnished walk-up in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Kevin loves singing and he's studying music and voice as a freshman at Manchester Community College, where he is out to his classmates. Sometimes he wears makeup, but he is over his drag-queen phase. I ask Kevin if he is now 100 percent sure that being gay is not a sin.
"Not 100 percent," he says. "It'll always be in the back of my mind. I guess it's the way I was raised. You don't know how many times I heard preached that homosexuality is a sin—you're going to burn in hell for it. It's funny how nobody at church wanted to sit down and explain why this was happening. They just want to get rid of it, basically."
Vivian Robinson acknowledges that her son still has homosexual feelings, but she has no plans to try to deliver him again. She loves him, she says, and she was very unhappy at the way the prophet from Georgia vilified her son in church. "God doesn't hate anybody," Vivian says. "God loves everybody." To her, many of their family issues had to do with Kevin's age. He was a difficult teenager who is growing easier to relate to. Since he moved out they have a better relationship. And she acknowledges that perhaps she has to allow Kevin—and God—to work things out for himself. "I do look at things a little differently now," she says. "I've learned that a person has to want to be delivered."
By mid-April, Kevin had returned to the church with his family. He's back in the choir, attending practice every Thursday. He hasn't undergone another deliverance, but the dogma is the same, he says. "They want you to change. It's just a lot of stuff you can't do. You can't do this, you can't do that. I'm getting overwhelmed—again. It just feels like it's too much, like today I just felt so overwhelmed. There's no possible way I can be Mr. Perfect Man."
I ask Kevin whether he would make himself straight if he could. "Yeah, I would," he says without hesitation. "I'm not going to lie—I would love to just fit in and be accepted."
But that doesn't seem likely. Not long ago, after choir practice ended, another singer—a young man Kevin's age—took exception to the look of Kevin's slicked-back hair and effeminate manner and accused him of being "the Devil's child."
"I said, 'I'm not the Devil's child, I'm one of God's,'" Kevin says. "He was like, 'Yeah, right.'"
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