Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-04-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

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

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.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SAGE LGBT speed mentoring April 26 2018-04-25 - On Thursday, April 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders will hold an LGBT speed-mentoring event at Gallery Victor Armendariz, ...


Gay News

Illinoisans lobby on behalf of curriculum bill 2018-04-18 - More than 100 community members became advocates and activists April 11 when Equality Illinois rallied its supporters at LGBTQ Advocacy Day at the ...


Gay News

DOJ proposes roll back of data collection on crime victimization of LGBT youth 2018-04-11 - LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Department of Justice announced yesterday that it will seek to stop asking 16 and 17 year olds to ...


Gay News

Curriculum work, ERA among EI agenda items 2018-04-11 - An inclusive public schools curriculum, an expansion of employment protections, the Equal Rights Amendment ( ERA ) and the state budget are among ...


Gay News

30 Under 30 Award nominations due April 13 2018-04-11 - Windy City Times is seeking to recognize 30 more outstanding LGBT individuals ( and allies ) for its annual 30 Under 30 Awards. ...


Gay News

Precious Minds project seeks to mentor youth 2018-04-11 - Precious Minds Mentoring Program is a program for young women, founded by a youth who has experienced her own struggles and who now ...


Gay News

'Bolder Than Out' ball April 6 2018-04-04 - In Demand Entertainment ( IDE ) and Chicago State University ( CSU ) Student Government Association ( SGA ) will participate in the ...


Gay News

Oleg Grachev on living in Russia and the U.S. 2018-03-30 - Ever since Oleg Grachev was 10 years old, he had a dream of working on Wall Street. He has fulfulled that dream as ...


Gay News

Youth Outlook's Nancy Mullen reflects on her career, current challenges 2018-03-28 - When Nancy Mullen was hired as Youth Outlook's ( then known as QYC ) first and only executive director in Oct. 1998—the week ...


Gay News

Back 2 School offers scholarship 2018-03-28 - Back 2 School Illinois ( B2SI ) has announced its 2018 College Scholarship program. B2SI, a non-profit organization that creates and supports ...


 



Copyright © 2018 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
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.