Performer’s Spotlight - James Ayers
There are a lot of different stories to tell in our upcoming show 'God Loves Me'. James Ayers has taken the time to sit with us to talk about his particular relationship with faith and sexuality
How does it feel to be in the audience, listening to other performers tell their stories?
I’m always blown away by Story District storytellers. I always learn something when I hear other people. And it’s such a good feeling telling stories about people like that.
At the moment you describe in your story, did you feel how important this decision would be? Or is it only significant when you look back?
I would say that I knew then. At this point, I’d received a lot of anti-gay counseling that culminating in this meeting I went to - I think to make sure you’re ready. It was after I’d been to all of these sessions that I really saw that these people are broken. I mean, I’m broken but it was really obvious that these people were broken. So I knew when I walked out I wasn’t going to be coming back. It felt pretty significant even then.
Do you feel bad for the people who are still in those anti-gay groups?
Yeah, it’s really heart breaking. On the one hand, it’s heartbreaking to see these people who think that God doesn’t love them. Ultimately they’re internalizing a kind of shame. But in another way, I don’t have any patience for them. Once you’ve reached a certain age, you’d have to do a lot of self-deception.
Do you ever feel like you’re preaching to the choir when you speak in front of Story District audiences?
Well that gets to the crux of why we tell stories about ourselves. I think I’d say no: I’ve never felt the urge to proselytize and help people along the journey I’ve taken. This might be for selfish reasons or it might be because it was a very individual personal thing for me. I know that it wouldn’t have mattered to me to hear a stranger telling me any of this.