I recently connected with Joshua Reid-Davis through a good friend. In not knowing him that well as of yet, I decided to do just that. I find him to be quite interesting and a beautiful person. I look forward to working with him and getting to know him better myself.
I am grateful to have him join Bullies Keep Out as a supporter and lend his voice and advice to the fight against all forms of bullying and hate.
Please take the time to read the interview I did with him. He has much to say, and the passion in his words will make you think. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.
Dana Jacoviello: Josh tell me a little bit about what you do? I know you are involved in the cons, the entertainment industry, and work on radio as well correct?
Joshua Reid-Davis: That’s right I often tell people I’m a geek, but I’m a pretty cool geek to know. I’m an Emcee also known as an MC (Master of Ceremonies). I host conventions for Eyecon Celebrity Autograph Conventions. I have worked in the convention world for a few years. I started going to conventions a few years ago and then, as fate would have it, I was attending an Eyecon convention and I met Autumn (She’s the Guest Relations for Eyecon). I was wearing a pair of onesie pajamas and she stored my number in her phone as “Pajama Boy” & that’s how it all started. They offered Pajama Boy a chance at hosting a convention and a few years later here we are. I have worked with Star Trek, Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals. Teen Wolf, & Enchantacon’s Once Upon A Time. It’s truly amazing because fans of these shows come from all walks of life and when you’re at a convention you’re all there for the same reason, the love of the show, so I really enjoy getting to see friendships form with people who most likely wouldn’t be friends if they had met outside of the conventions. It really brings them together.
I also work with The VRO (Variety Radio Online). I have been on hiatus for personal and health reasons, but I will be back on air in the near and upcoming future where we will be talking about some fun and exciting things.
DJ: What causes are you passionate about and why did you choose to support Bullies Keep Out?
JD: I’m very big into NOH8 (The No Hate Campaign), The HRC (The Human Rights Campaign), and I am very involved in the GLBT community because these organizations really reach out and help the GLBT community. A lot of people are bullied and some are afraid that they have no one to go to for help. I have teenagers ask me for advice all the time and some feel comfortable talking with me about issues they are going through because they know my story and they know that I have been exactly where they are dealing with coming out. It really hurts me to see people like the Westboro Baptist Church and other “Religious” people using the Bible to cast hate because that’s not what religion is.
DJ: Have you ever been bullied just for being you or felt as though you were not accepted?
JD: I was actually in middle school and it was actually because I was Pentecostal. I went to North Hall Middle school, and it was a town that all went to this huge Baptist church that was in town, and I went to a very large Pentecostal church. The kids called it a cult. They said that we handled snakes and they said a lot of made up things. Our church was on television so they would watch and find things to make fun of. I went to a FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) meeting thinking that it would help… alas it was made up of everyone who made fun of me for the church that I went to. I talked to the teacher who was in charge of the FCA meetings and she also went to the church I mentioned and she said that maybe it would be best if I didn’t come to the meetings because of different views.
I went to the next meeting and told them all what was on my heart. I told them that I would never be ashamed for my beliefs. I told them that they were Christians and instead of getting to know me they just made fun of me all for my beliefs. I also called the teacher out saying that she shouldn’t let this behavior go on. They would publicly say things to me about it and she turned a blind eye.
I was fortunate that we changed schools and I moved my 9th grade year to West Hall High School where I was never picked on again. I actually used my experiences of being bullied to reach out for the “underdogs”. I didn’t tolerate bullying, and if I saw someone being bullied I took up for them. The thing about West Hall was yea we had the jocks, the preppy kids, the skaters, the theater kids, etc… But we all got along. It was a huge school, and sure there were clicks, but I had friends in each click…I didn’t just fit in one social circle. We all got along and were friends. I’m so thankful that we moved there, and in fact people actually loved my church there. I had a few kids who tried to pick on me because they sensed that I was gay. I had a guy call me a faggot. I hate to use this word, but I’m telling it like it was. It was truly amazing at the events that followed a guy that was a football jock, that I didn’t know very well, stood up for me before I could even say anything and I was so surprised. He and I became friends, and I asked him later on why he stood up for me and he said, “He called you that because you stood up to him for picking on the girl in a wheel chair. He’s a jerk and I don’t know if you’re gay or just really nice to everyone…that’s your business, but you’ve always been nice to me so why not man?” I recently went to my high school reunion and a sports car was parked crooked between four spaces and I joked I bet that car belongs to (I won’t use his name but I was referring to the kid that bullied me) and sure enough he got out and I laughed so hard. Some people never change.
DJ: When did you first come out and what was that experience like?
JD: Coming out was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. I come from a very religious family so my parents took it hard. Growing up in the Bible belt was hard because we didn’t really know anyone who was gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. But with time my family realized that I was me, the same Josh they had raised. My family met a lot of my friends who were gay while I was in the hospital a few years ago, and my parents saw just how truly amazing the GLBT community truly is. One of my family members believes that it’s a sin and he accepts me, he said, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner”, and I hate hearing that because yes the Bible does say things about homosexuality, but I did go to Bible college so I did learn a few things and found the peace that I needed.
DJ: What would you say to others who are struggling with bullying or their sexuality?
JD: I’m going to address both people being bullied, I’m going to address the bullies, and people battling sexuality…
You’re not alone. Don’t ever feel like you are. There are so many people out there who want to help you. Some of you may feel that you don’t know how your parents will react or your family will react. There’s PFLAG and so many other people who will help you and your family understand that this isn’t a choice, and that we were born with these feelings…
I read an interview with President Jimmy Carter that said, “Homosexuality was well-known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born, and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things -— he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies. I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. I’m a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs, so if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn’t require them to.
I agree with him… This all goes back to separation of Church and State… I think that if an individual denomination would like to marry same-sex couples, then they should be able to. If your church doesn’t support it, well GOD BLESS YOU. We can move on to the next church that will…
President Carter went on to say, “I think ‘judge not that you be not judged’ is the best advice that I will follow. Maybe it is a rationalization, but it creates a lack of tension in my mind about that potential conflict.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself…
So many people in America and around the world are hurting… I hurt. That’s the whole purpose of the documentary that I am making. I hated myself for years because I didn’t approve of my own sexuality. Gerard Way said, “The difference we want to make is number one to let these kids know that they’re not alone, that they’re actually not that messed up, and that they can do whatever they want; they can express themselves however they want, without being persecuted or called a faggot or some kind of racist thing. You know, really just to get people to get over their stuff so they can live.”
I have to agree with Hillary Clinton, “Gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, and all faiths. They are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes. And whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors. Being gay IS NOT a western invention. It is a human reality.”
Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, Evangelist and known for his sex scandal, said, “Never in my life have I ever met a man who I’d wanna marry, and if one ever looks at me like that, then I’ll kill him and tell God it was an accident.” This is the mentality that drove me away from ministry and the church for many years… but guess what… I’m back and I am coming full force with this documentary I am making.
For me, heaven and God are the final destination on a map… religion and denomination are many roads that lead to that final destination. Just because we don’t take that same road, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to end up in the same place, but I do want to address some Biblical issues…after all my degree is in Theology, so let me use it for a second. You wanna talk Bible America… let’s talk it!
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6. I think that Christians should stop leaning on their “own understanding”. They pick and choose things from the Bible and use it with their “own understanding” and make a case out of it.
People said in the past that it’s UNGODLY to have interracial marriage… it’s not of God….well in the Old Testament it says that Moses was married to a woman of darker skin. Now that isn’t really an issue as much anymore as it was in the past. In time same-sex marriage will be just like interracial marriage… A thing of the past…
HMMMM, If we really want to get into scripture I will get into it. Yes Leviticus does say that “A man shall not lay with another man…” but if you truly study the scripture, in the text that it was written in that time, Roman soldiers were raping their dressing boys and men were raped as a form of humiliation. Men weren’t allowed to have sexual relations with other men because they couldn’t conceive. Leviticus also states that “If you touch the skin of a dead pig you are unclean”. So are football players going to hell with the gays? Onan was killed for masturbating because at that time sexual acts were for procreation. “He spilled his seed upon the soil…” He was killed because they were trying to rebuild a nation and instead of “spilling his seed” in his wife, he did it out of her body so they killed him….
ALSO if we want to go back to the Bible, Jesus talked about the old laws. He said, “That was the old law and this is the new”. FOR EXAMPLE, Jesus was referred to as the LAMB OF GOD. He died for us so that we could have everlasting life. His death was symbolic to the sacrificing of lambs and other animals in the new testament… like he said… OLD LAW… NEW LAW… We no longer sacrifice animals. We no longer sell our family into slavery like the Old Testament… just like we shouldn’t judge those who are homosexual….OLD LAW…
I know that I’m not going to change the whole worlds mind. We all have the right to believe what we want to believe. I’m just so sick and tired of seeing Christians persecuting people for the way that they believe or the way that they live their lives.
We as Christians need to stop leaning on our OWN UNDERSTANDING and actually do what the Bible says and not what we make out of the scriptures. I never read where Jesus stood on the street corner with a sign telling people they were going to hell. I do recall him condemning the religious leaders of that time.
If you haven’t watched the video that I put together I urge you to listen to the song and look at the pictures. We truly are in a storm. For so long I walked through that storm alone and scared because I felt like I didn’t have any hope or any help left. I listened to the “Christians” and to those around me and convinced myself that my way of life was wrong, but then I let God open the doors to my heart and it made me see the world in a whole new light.
You all have the right to think and believe however you want. I don’t judge you, so don’t judge me.
Being gay, lesbian, straight, bi-sexual, or trans-gender is a way of life, it isn’t a choice! Did you choose to be tall or short? Sure you can change your hair color, but underneath it’s always there. I have many gay friends who have chosen to live a life of straightness. Now you can deny your sexuality and try to live your life the way that Christian America wants you to live it, but just like that hair color, it will always be there…
I find it amazing that the economy is struggling so much. We have friends and family dying in a pointless war every single day. The national debt has never been this high, yet we have church groups donating money to end gay rights.
SHAME ON US AMERICA! SHAME ON YOU! It doesn’t matter how much you spend it doesn’t matter how many bans there are on gay rights, the truth of the matter is, no vote, no money, and no religious leader will ever say or do anything to make me love myself any less.
I grew up around Christianity. I even went to Bible College to find peace within myself and I did. I love how people pick and choose verses in the Bible for what they stand for and believe in. I have met so many people in the gay and lesbian community who are hurting; they feel like God doesn’t love them because they live a lifestyle that their family doesn’t approve of. What right do we as Christians or Mormons, or whatever denomination you are have to judge someone’s way of life? Your choice to discriminate against us is no different from the African Americans rights, women’s rights, and every other race or culture that is being hated because of America’s way of thinking!
To those of you who are standing on the street corners yelling out what an abomination we are… You sir and you ma’am are the abomination… But you know what, I still love you, I love you with all of my heart. You break my heart, you make me sad because YOUR UNDERSTANDING and YOUR ACTIONS standing there yelling are hurting people and turning people away from God. I fell from my walk with God for several years, and I’m so glad that I was given a second chance at life so that I know in my heart that my main mission in life is to go behind and find those who are hurting… to show them that God does love them. Heaven is the final destination on the map. Religion is the road you take to get there…find your road and find your relationship with God, because I promise you it’s amazing
DJ: In working at the cons, do you ever encounter bullying? I noticed cyber bullying within several fandoms takes place a great deal on Social Media. Have you ever endured this or witnessed it?
JD: I personally have never seen people or even heard of people being bullied at conventions no. I have also never been cyber bullied.
DJ: Where does your passion for what you do come from? When did you decide this is what I want to do with my life, and are you happy with where you are right now?
JD: My passion comes from the fact that I have battled with depression for many years, and I have been where each person has been when they felt like the world wasn’t going to accept them for who they are. It got so bad that I tried to kill myself. I let all the problems that I was dealing with get to me and I overdosed. I had it all planned out, but God had other plans for me. My best friend and roommate at the time Carman found me, lifeless, I flat lined three times and was put into a medical induced coma until they could stabilize me. I want to tell my story to reach out to people who feel like giving up, who feel like God doesn’t love them because the church has made them feel that they are an abomination. When I woke up in the hospital I knew that my calling was to help reach out to the people who want to give up, who feel like they are a failure. I’m here to tell you that you’re perfect just the way you are. My passion comes from experience, I HAVE BEEN THERE! DON’T GIVE UP!
DJ: Where can people find you on Social Media?
JD: I am a HUGE social media fanatic I LOVE IT!
DJ: Do you have anything else you would like to say?
JD: I know that I have said a lot, but I will say it again, I gave up on life and I was given a second chance. Some of us are only given one chance at life, so use that chance to be who you are because nothing is wrong with you. You’re made just the way that God intended for you to be. Don’t ever give up on yourself because when you give up it gets easier and easier to walk away from life. You can be whoever you want to be in life. Reach for your dreams and don’t stop until you get there. My goal and ambition in life is to help make a difference, that’s what I want. For those of you being persecuted this too shall pass. Don’t ever give up on life, but most of all don’t ever give up on yourself.
Interview done and written by Dana Jacoviello: Founder, Manager, Writer, Motivational Mentor/Coach/Speaker of Bullies Keep Out and host of La Bella Vita.