Randy Roberts Potts grew up in a typical evangelical Christian family, or as typical as life can be when your grandfather is the late televangelist Oral Roberts.
"It was a little bit surreal," Potts said of growing up in one of the most well known evangelical families, hidden behind the guarded iron gates of the family compound located on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Today, few in the Roberts family speak of Randy Roberts Potts, the oldest son of Roberta Potts and grandson to the deceased Tulsa evangelist. Potts married at 20, had three children and at 30 he came out gay. The 37-year-old has been estranged from his family ever since.
"My mother has told me that it's disgusting that I'm openly gay," Potts told GoPride.com in a telephone interview this week. "They have very strong feelings about me speaking out."
Potts feels equally as passionate about sharing his story and speaking out for him is personal. In 2010 he recorded an ‘It Gets Better' video message using a letter to his deceased uncle, Ronnie, who committed suicide in 1982 after years of struggling with his own sexuality.
"I wrote that letter five years ago," said Potts. "I just kept writing him, instead of writing a journal I was writing my uncle. I never thought I'd show it to anyone."
Potts, whose middle name is derived from Oral Roberts' surname, said he identified closely with Ronnie, one of four children born to the evangelist. Both Potts and his uncle were teachers, married, had children and divorced.
Read more of this interview on GoPride.com
Meet Randy Roberts Potts this Saturday, July 30th at the Inclusion 2011 Conference, hosted by Carlton Pearson. It takes place at the Sheridan Hotel and Towers, 201 E. North Water St. Potts will be leading a panel on faith and homosexuality from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. More information: Clint Bargmann, firstname.lastname@example.org