Why the Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. is singing for survival

By Jessica Gelt | Los Angeles Times PUBLISHED: April 4, 2019 at 6:00am

Gary Hayashi thought that if he could just get close enough to God, he would be cured. Hayashi was not like other men he knew at church, and he certainly wasn’t like his older brother, whom he considered the embodiment of testosterone. As a child, Hayashi was artistic, he cried easily and he gravitated toward “shiny, pretty things.”

That made his parents nervous, so when he was 6 and they discovered his singing voice, they were relieved. They guided him toward the church choir, and there he stayed, cultivating a life led in service of God.

In graduate school at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Hayashi met a man who had started a Christian ministry that specialized in reparative therapy. The goal? To set gay people straight. Hayashi joined the staff and traveled the world as a speaker for the cause. Seven years later, when he still secretly yearned for relationships with men, he made the painful decision to leave the ministry and come out. He was 42.

Alone, adrift and shunned by his former friends, Hayashi found his way to the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the oldest LGBTQ arts organization in the city. The first concert he performed in was titled “Songs of Pride and Joy.”

Read the full article at LA Times HERE.