“Grandson of a Preacher Man,” by journalist Jonathan Miles in Details (February, 2012) is about Randy Roberts Potts, queer grandson of the late super-evangelist Oral Roberts. The expose reveals startling revelations and endearing moments.
Miles points out: “Randy Roberts Potts likes to say he grew up 50 feet and a million miles away from firebrand televangelist Oral Roberts. Now openly gay and a pariah to his family, the 37-year-old is on a mission of his own, to undo his grandfather’s legacy by preaching in churches and touring the Bible belt with his new performance piece, ‘The Gay Agenda.‘”
Next month, Potts will premiere what he describes as “the willfully unentertaining show on the road in his native state in Oklahoma City. His itinerary includes midsize red-state cities, like Jackson, Mississippi, Omaha, Nebraska, and Birmingham, Alabama with the intention of reaching populations to “show a neutral, domestic side of gay couple hood . . . that’s identical to straight life.”
Part of Potts’ campaign is to break the stereo-typing of gay life centered on sex, drugs and circuit parties. His performance piece of a gay couple sharing their lives together is a “visual that people haven’t ever really seen in conservatives towns.”
Potts realized his sexuality at the age of seven. “I was talking to my mom and made some comment to the effect that Strawberry Shortcake (the cartoon character) was really gay. She immediately took it as a teaching moment. Gay, she said, is when two men have sex with one another, and god hates it so much that he burned whole cities to the ground because of it.”
Growing up being more attracted to Bo & Luke over Daisy on “The Dukes of Hazard” confirmed that Potts was attracted to men. But having the fear of God instilled in him by his family’s teachings led him to suppress his homosexuality. Potts even married a woman and had three children, living as a deeply-closeted married man.
Potts broke at 27, finally admitting that he was gay. His admission got him a bitter divorce, and a harsh separation from his parents and family. “I felt ostracized in a way I’d never felt,” he admits.
Oddly, he didn’t have to stand alone for too long. Brother Stephen was later outed by their own father (a minister) while serving in the Air Force. Duel gay progeny didn’t mean any quicker healing. When their grandmother died, they were “denied entrance to the graveside funeral by an armed security guard,” being informed that they were not on the list.”
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