One night, about a month into my fieldwork with the gay Christians, I offered Terry, whose car was in the shop for repairs, a ride home from an Accept meeting. Like me, Terry was a newcomer and had only been attending meetings for a short time. During the drive to his home, we initially made small talk and joked about local happenings. Then Terry suddenly got serious and asked, “Michelle, do you like going to these meetings?” I was startled by the question. I had not considered whether I enjoyed the time I spent with the group, so it was difficult to answer his question. I did, however, recognize immediately how important his question was; if attending the group was not rewarding, then it would be very hard to keep doing so—for me or anyone else.
I answered Terry as honestly as possible. Yes, I liked attending the group. I enjoyed the warmth, the camaraderie, and the exploration of sexual and spiritual issues. I also explained that I did not feel this way at the very beginning. As a heterosexual woman from a Jewish family, I initially felt strange and out of place, worried that I could not fit in or that I might unwittingly offend. These fears dissolved, however, as group members made real efforts to include and get to know me. Attending the group became fun. Terry interrupted me here: “But that’s just it. Because you’re straight, you don’t have to worry about what will happen to you. You can just make friends. For me, I’m scared. I’m joining a gay church. It will change my life, and I have