Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gay Wheaton College student makes waves
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2015-03-03

This article shared 13884 times since Tue Mar 3, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When Justin Massey entered Wheaton College almost four years ago he never imagined being out as a gay man while on campus much less taking on a leadership role within the college's LGBT community.

Massey, a 21-year-old senior political science major, grew up in Orange County California and attended Dana Hills High School. He was very involved in the evangelical church there and was president of the Christian club at his public high school. When it came time to choose where to go to college, Massey explained that it made sense for him to go to an evangelical college due to his upbringing.

When he was 12, he came out to his youth pastor, however, that was in the context of him struggling with the fact that he was gay. Massey explained that at first he read reparative therapy books and immersed himself in a far right mindset, however, that changed when he arrived at Wheaton College.

He came out to his parents about a year or so after coming out to his youth pastor and then to his friends. Massey noted that at first it was really hard for his parents but they've been dialoguing about it ever since.

"They weren't surprised but it was still shocking and scary for them since they never thought about what it would mean for them to have a child [he is the youngest of four children] who is LGBT," said Massey. "Everyone in my immediate family has been increasingly supportive. My parents are really encouraging and my mom is really interested in what I'm doing."

"Coming to Wheaton, I planned on keeping my sexual orientation under wraps but almost immediately I became very active and started having conversations about the campus bylaws about homosexuality. I got involved with student government and was elected freshman class president. I joined the Student Care Committee and I came out to them within the first couple of months at Wheaton," said Massey. "The following year I co-founded the first LGBT student group on campus, Refuge, with Wesley Davison and Tory Leonard."

Refuge, which currently has 15 members, is an anonymous group whose members have to be LGBT and the meetings aren't publicized anywhere. Although he co-founded Refuge and served as the group's chair, Massey noted that the college has taken away his leadership role within the group.

"I also got kicked out of student government committees due to my involvement with Refuge," said Massey. "There was a lot that was being communicated by the administration that I was a threat to them."

The college has hired Julie Rodgers, a celibate lesbian and Wheaton College's first LGBT staff member, to lead Refuge. Rodgers serves in the Chaplain's office at the college.

Massey noted that OneWheaton's event during his sophomore year really opened him up to the idea that he could be gay and Christian at the same time.

"Just knowing that OneWheaton exists and hearing their stories was encouraging to me," said Massey. "The college asked me if I was an arm of OneWheaton when I was getting Refuge started and I told them it wasn't the case."

Massey said he decided to become more vocal about LGBT equality because he has the ability to speak out while others have to remain in the closet. He wants to make life easier for LGBT people when they arrive on campus. Due to his own experience at Wheaton College, Massey said that he is more aware of the conversations happening on campus about race, gender and other progressive issues.

"My goal doesn't include getting the college to change their policies because there are still fundamental issues that need to be addressed at the college about the way that they value LGBT student's lives. Students by and large can't identify as LGBT on campus. I think if you try to change everything in one fell swoop it won't work. You need to be on the inside so you can participate in the conversations and hopefully change people's perspective and understanding of these issues," said Massey. "When we started Refuge we had to minimize the language and instead of saying the group is for LGBT students it's for students who are experiencing same-sex attraction."

"I know so many LGBT students that are suicidal and/or suffer from depression. I have all these experiences engaging with the college, with my peers and leading discussion including a panel within residence life talking about what it's like being gay on campus," said Massey. "I wanted to speak out on behalf of the students who didn't feel safe coming out and that included writing an article for the student paper where I came out to the entire campus. It was then that I started meeting more LGBT students at Wheaton."

Massey also participated in the "More Than a Single Story" audio documentary last year and he led a demonstration with Jordan-Ashley Barney on campus prior to Rosaria Champaign Butterfield's testimony and address.

Massey spent a semester off-campus at American University in Washington, D.C., as a part of a political science program called Transforming Communities and Public Policy.

"I wanted to get some hands on experience in the political process and learn ways to change communities thinking on issues such as LGBT equality," said Massey.

Recently, Massey attended the Gay Christian Network Conference for the second year in a row.

"I was incredibly inspired by the dialogue/conversations that I had. LGBT people of faith have the ability to come together and wade through tricky conversations," said Massey. "It was great to be in a space where I could be myself and not worry about what people would say about me or how they looked at me. I was so happy to be there with my mom and sister and have them see all of these Christians who are LGBT."

"The speakers were inspiring especially Jeff Chu, who is a married gay pastor. His story really resonated with me," Massey said. "I met Vicky Beeching and she is a really lovely woman. It was disheartening to see her targeted by the Westboro Baptist Church ahead of her keynote address."

Along with working towards LGBT equality, Massey is also a member of Wheaton College's Men's Glee Club. Massey traveled with the glee club to Paris and a few other locations in France during his sophomore year.

"It was amazing to tour in Europe. Besides that we tour churches and perform on campus," said Massey. "The glee club is my breath of fresh air on campus. I'm in charge of the banquet that we hold every year. I couldn't imagine coming here as a freshman and finding out that someone like me is an out gay man and is respected as a member of this club. It would've overwhelmed me."

"I also like to cook so when I go home for visits you'll find me in the kitchen whipping up a meal," said Massey. I'm goofy and I love to have great conversations about a variety of topics. Traveling also interests me."

Massey writes a blog with Nathan Barber, another gay student at Wheaton College, called "The Faithful Within," and he's also very active on twitter. "Both of us see the blog as a place to have important dialogues in a public sphere about LGBT experiences/issues and Christianity without disregarding either perspective. Growing up the only thing most of us hear is either you are LGBT or you are Christian," said Massey. "As for twitter, it's been really great especially as a way to communicate shorter thoughts about what's important to me. I've gotten very little negative feedback about my posts on my blog or via twitter. For the most part, it's been a really positive experience."

As for the future, Massey plans on continuing his LGBT advocacy work with a focus on engaging with faith communities and working towards full LGBT equality nationwide.

To read more of Massey's thoughts, visit www.thefaithfulwithin.wordpress.com and www.twitter.com/justinsmassey.


This article shared 13884 times since Tue Mar 3, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Howard Brown strike reaches third day 2023-01-05
- Amid layoffs of 60 unionized and four non-union staffers at multiple Howard Brown Health (Howard Brown), Broadway Youth Center and Brown Elephant locations across Chicago, over 400 HBH Workers United non-nurse members represented by the Illinois ...


Gay News

WORLD Conversion therapy, Indian school, trans boxers, anti-LGBTQ+ move 2022-12-31
- South Florida Gay News noted that efforts to ban so-called conversion therapy gained a lot of traction around the world in 2022. For example, Canada and France introduced LGBTQ+-inclusive bills to ban conversion therapy for minors ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Office vandalized, George Santos, HRC official dies at 24, law students 2022-12-24
- Protestors vandalized an openly gay New York City Council member's office and entered his apartment building, The Advocate reported. Erik Bottcher—whose district includes Greenwich Village, Chelse and Hell's Kitchen, among ...


Gay News

OPINION Remember the youngest victims of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination 2022-12-19
- On Dec. 13, the Ohio State Board of Education voted 10-7 in favor of a non-binding resolution opposing proposed changes to the federal government's Title IX protecting LGBTQ+ students. It was just one more blow for ...


Gay News

MUSIC: Sophie B. Hawkins talks LGBTQ+ youth and living an authentic life 2022-11-24
- In the '90s, singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins made quite an impression on people with the entrancing song "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" and its accompanying video. She also had hits such as "Right Beside You" ...


Gay News

National AIDS Memorial names 2022-2023 Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship recipients 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - SAN FRANCISCO, California, Nov. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National AIDS Memorial has announced its 2022/2023 Pedro Zamora Young Leaders scholars, its largest and most diverse class ever, providing ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Pageant ruling, AOC, gay journalists, Dwyane Wade, trans activist 2022-11-06
- A federal appeals court ruled that the operator of the Miss United States of America pageant (not to be confused with the Miss USA pageant) can't be forced to allow openly transgender women into its competitions, ...


Gay News

Chicago Teachers Union: Lightfoot's CPS team must remove Jones HS principal, address racially hostile environment 2022-11-04
-- From a Chicago Teachers Union press release - CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2022 — The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement after learning of another incidence of intolerance at Jones College Prep High School, which has been dogged by complaints of antisemitism, racism and ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Birth certificates, university items, drag-show standoff, 'Models of Pride' 2022-10-30
- Following a lawsuit from ACLU, ACLU of West Virginia and the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Vital Registration Office has introduced more accessible and safer policies ...


Gay News

Florida Board of Education approves strict trans bathroom rule 2022-10-24
- On Oct. 19, the Florida Board of Education approved a strict rule preventing public and charter schools in the state from allowing trans+ youth to use the restroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Michigan bill, trans woman killed, school musical, Alabama drag queen 2022-10-23
- Michigan House Republicans recently introduced legislation that could have the potential to throw parents and doctors in prison for life for offering gender-affirming care to children under the age of 18, MLive.com reported. Under House Bill ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Cleveland's ban, LGBT center, Black Public Media, Folx Health 2022-10-16
- The Cleveland City Council passed a ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth and impose criminal penalties for mental health professionals who provide it, cleveland.com reported. The ban, which Councilman Brian Mooney proposed, applies to talk, ...


Gay News

WORLD Fertility strategy, trans youth charity, French PM, Mexican spots 2022-10-02
- The British government committed to a 10-year strategy to end discrimination against "female same-sex couples" seeking fertility services, according to Human Rights Watch. The first-ever Women's Health Strategy for England ...


Gay News

Trevor Project returns donation from controversial tech company 2022-09-30
- The Trevor Project—a leading nonprofit devoted to the mental well-being of LGBTQ+ youth which wants "a world where all LGBTQ young people see a bright future for themselves," according to its website—has returned a donation from ...


Gay News

Newsom signs bill making California a sanctuary state for trans youths 2022-09-30
- On Sept. 29, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that aims to protect transgender youths and their families from bans against gender-affirming care, the Los Angeles Times reported. Senate Bill 107, by state ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.