David Olsen

LGBTQ

I graduated from Cedarville in 1984. My time there was marked by much joy, as I developed life-long friends, from all areas of the college – the student body, administrative staff and faculty. I was involved in theatre (my starring role as “Peter” in The Robe and “Bottom” in Midsummer Night’s Dream are legendary. OK, that’s a joke), traveled with a missionary team to Australia, and was the pianist for the Kingsmen Quartet (our songs are still played on the Cedarville radio station, CDR. That’s not a joke).

Back then, I was closeted and believed my homosexuality (we didn’t call it “gay,” that was too happy) was my thorn in the flesh – something to pull out any way I could. I went to therapists who believed in “reparative” therapy, and went to numerous “ex-gay” meetings in order to purge this “thing” that I was told was so evil. The first friend to whom I confided my secret attraction to men was from Cedarville. I closed my eyes because I was certain she would walk away, and I would never see her again. She didn’t – even as we both agreed it was something I needed to overcome, at any cost.

After many years of prayer, struggle, book-reading, therapy and much, much pain, I realized that being gay wasn’t a sin. I wasn’t an ex-gay, and no longer needed to define myself by something I was fighting. I was plain and simply, gay. It was a cathartic moment to realize I could be gay and a Christian, and that God embraced a life lived with integrity.

Cedarville provided an excellent education in critical thinking, which played a major role in my intellectual and emotional journey towards freedom as a gay person. Currently I’m a Professor in the Communication Studies Department at California State University, Los Angeles, focusing on rhetoric and performance. I’m happily partnered for five years (we met at an evangelical gay men’s group, Evangelicals Concerned) and attend All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, a place that welcomes all people, and yes, drinks real wine at communion.