Consider This Perspective – Randy Roberts Potts

Welcome to another installment of LOVEboldly’s interview series. Previously , Derek Webb (Part 1Part 2Part 3), Logan Mehl-LaituriTripp YorkWesley HillJen Thweatt-BatesPeterson ToscanoJenell Paris, and Alan Chambers (Part 1Part 2Part 3) offered their perspectives on a number of issues related to faith and sexuality. Now we are privileged to share an interview with Randy Roberts Potts.
Randy Roberts Potts has worked with juvenile delinquents on the East Coast, was a social worker in Oklahoma City, spent five years as a middle school English teacher, and is now a freelance writer for several publications including The Washington Post, Box Turtle Bulletin, The Advocate, This Land Press, D Magazine, and others.
Randy wrote about his coming out experience as the grandson of televangelist Oral Roberts in the recent It Gets Better book and spends his life trying to spread a message of hope to gay youth. He is also a public speaker and has spoken on a gay cruise, for gay pride, in churches, high schools, universities and LGBT centers across the country.
Randy  launched a  project called “The Gay Agenda,” a performance art piece designed for conservative areas across the country. For more information on Randy, you can visit his website.
For those who may not know you, you are the grandson of late televangelist Oral Roberts. What was it like growing up as a member of this family? How did it shape your early views of God?
As a child I was very passionately religious and a devout holy roller Pentecostal.  Sometime in middle school that began to break down as I struggled with my sexuality and other aspects of what my religion taught me.
How has your view of God changed since coming to terms with your sexuality?
Coming out hasn’t affected my view of God at all but it has drastically altered my view of religion, especially the one I grew up within.  Among Evangelicals, the Bible is used opportunistically as a weapon with which to beat homosexuals and many commit suicide as a result.  Even so, I don’t mix up man’s use of religion with my views on God and know that Jesus’ message had nothing to do with this behavior.
What do you think of mixed orientation marriages?
They are intensely problematic and unfair on so many levels and I spent 11 years within one.  The platonic love that is possible is not enough to ease the natural sexual tension for the two individuals and sex cannot be emotionally healing in such a relationship and therefore a huge divide exists between such couples.  I certainly wouldn’t recommend this type of arrangement.
 Tell us about your project The Gay Agenda. What sparked this idea? How has it been received?
The idea for the gay agenda project came from a dream I had, in which Keaton and I were living in a glass box in Central Park in NYC.  I realized it wouldn’t be controversial for two men to keep house in Central Park but it would be on Main Street in small town USA.  The reception has been mixed — we have not found a way to execute the project in a way that is effective — meaning, finding safe, available locations in which to perform has meant that we have audiences already too friendly.  I still think it could be effectively carried out but I don’t feel it has yet lived up to expectations.
 What do you wish the straight, evangelical Christian community knew about the LGBTQ community? 
The main thing I would ask the straight, evangelical Christian community to do is to recognize our humanity, that we are human beings who fall in love and seek to build lives together.  Paul in the New Testament says that in Christ there is no gender and, hey, the LGBTQ community gets this, why don’t evangelicals?
 Please tell us about any current and/or new projects on which you are working?  
No new projects at the moment; my husband and I are newly married and just bought a house and heavily involved in feathering our nest with our three kiddos in Texas.

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