Trey Pearson, the lead singer of Christian rock group Everyday Sunday, opens up about the difficult journey toward self-acceptance, the damaging nature of the church's views on homosexuality, and the need for acceptance of LGBT+ people within the church.
Stephanie Marie Anderson

6 Jun 2016 - 1:38 PM  UPDATED 6 Jun 2016 - 1:38 PM

Last week, after a lifetime in the closet and 17 years as the lead singer of Christian rock group Everyday Sunday, Trey Pearson came out in an emotional letter to his friends and fans.

Three days later, he appeared on US talk show The View to talk about what the process of coming out has been like for him, the pressure he felt from the church to try to change his identity, and the need for the church to change for future generations.

Lead singer of Christian rock band comes out in emotional letter to fans
Trey Pearson, who has toured 20 different countries and all 50 of the United States as the lead singer of Christian alt-group Everyday Sunday, has come out as gay.

"First of all, I wanna say, welcome to the community," co-host Raven Symone - who came out in 2014 - said as Pearson joined them on stage.

Pearson tells the panel and audience that he's been "slowly coming out to friends and family over the last six months," describing the journey he's been on as "really long" and "difficult".

When asked if he found it so difficult to come out because of his faith, Pearson replied: "absolutely".

"I grew up in a Christian home and church where I was taught that God hated homosexuality, that I could choose to be straight, and uh, I tried for a really long time," he says. "I was trying to convince myself that I could be something that I wasn't and so I put all of my faith into that."

Pearson speaks passionately about the negative effect of the church's views, saying that "it's scary because a lot of the church continues to teach that this is a choice and they don't realise how damaging it can be in people's lives".

He says that he grew up knowing that he "had attractions for other guys" but that he "felt really horrible" and "guilty" about it, so he "just always tried to push them down".

Despite his fears, his family has been "unbelievably loving and supportive", Pearson says, calling his now ex-wife Lauren his "biggest supporter [and] biggest advocate" as he's come out to the rest of his family, who have struggled to come to terms with Pearson's sexuality. 

"They want to understand," Pearson says of his family, telling the audience that after the story came out, his father visited his house unexpectedly to offer his support.

"I was curled up on the couch, not sure what people would think [of the letter], who would be talking about it," he says. "[My dad] just knocked on the door - I had no idea he was coming - and he just hugged me for like ten minutes and told me how much he loved me."

Despite the years of struggling due to the teachings of the church, Pearson says that he "absolutely" still identifies as a Christian, noting: "I feel like I'm more in love with Jesus and the scriptures than ever".

Pearson says that this is a time of change for the church, particularly in relation to its acceptance of LGBT+ people.

"I want to see our church change, I want to see other denominations change," he says. "I want to see people willing to have the conversation in an open way where they're willing to listen to people's stories, which is why I think it's such an important story to tell because it's not just me, there are millions of people going through what I'm going through right now."

As for the future, Pearson says that for now he's focused on his family, and getting to know his authentic self.

"I am not dating," he says. "I decided when I was going through all of this to take at least a year to just to get to know myself as a gay person, to know this new part of me before I start getting to know who someone else is. I have my ex-wife and my two beautiful kids that we share every other week... that's where my focus is."