My guest, Tony Scott, came out to loving and accepting parents at age 16. But, his challenge was the church he had spent his whole life in, telling him he was an abomination. He finally came out and was really active in the LGBTQ community and all was well. Then, a once in a life time job opportunity to work on the staff of an internationally recognized evangelical mega church took him back in the closet for 10+ years, before truly embracing his authentic self as a gay man. How many men can say that they have not one, but two coming out stories? Tony states that he has no regrets. If you struggle to reconcile your sexuality with your spirituality, this episode is for you.
Coach Maddox 0:03
Hello, Tony Scott and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. Sir, I have been so excited to have this conversation with you. Welcome.
Tony Scott 0:12
Thank you, Maddox. Always a pleasure to have me conversation with you. And we have no Institute,
Coach Maddox 0:19
We have some good ones. And that means a lot to me. So thank you so much. So Tony, why don't you tell the listeners how you and I know each other and how you came to be a guest on the podcast?
Tony Scott 0:32
Sure. My name is Tony Scott. And I had the pleasure of meeting Maddox on his podcast, he had a podcast where we had an interesting topic. We'll save that for another day. And I guess I was a great fit for being on a podcast. So I was recommended by a mutual colleague that we know together. And I just fell in love with this guy from from that moment, you know, that I'd love been doing his podcast, and we like screamed like, like little girls, when we realize we both lived in the same city. So now we spent a lot of time here in our home city hanging out and doing stuff. And he's introduced me to so many people. So that one little podcast appearances turned into what's going to be a beautiful lifetime friendship.
Coach Maddox 1:18
Oh, I love that. That means a lot. Yes, we did scream like girls, when we went down last week, just like, it was so exciting. So yeah, we've been hanging out quite a bit together. We've done crazy stuff like drum circle, and we've done some parties, and you name it, brunches, and movies. And yes, yep, there's more where that came from? Well, the one thing I want to add, before we jump in is I want to tell the listeners that Tony is the founder of a organization called grace for gays. And he will tell us a little bit more about that in the episode. And there are links in the show notes if you want to check it out. So Tony, tell me, how would you define or what is it mean to you to be an authentic gay man,
Tony Scott 2:09
For me to be an authentic gay man is to be your highest and best self, and being your honest self, because I think one of the challenges we have, as you know, gay males is that in our process of evolving and coming out, we have a tendency to make ourselves fit, whatever that you know, people say, you know, you have to read the room, then we have we are masters of reading the room and adapting ourselves to whatever situation we enter that means hiding who you are, or if it means hiding your sexuality, or if it means, you know, yeah, we've, we're so accustomed to hiding, I know, that may not be everybody's experience, but we haven't had the luxury of being authentic because of some of the nuances that come with our sexuality. And it has caused us to have to hide, so being authentic is to me is when you are free to be yourself in every capacity in every way.
Coach Maddox 3:12
I love that. And I agree completely. And one of the things that I can say that I have observed and experienced with you and your authenticity, and I actually love this about you, I was telling a friend on the phone last night about you and and I said, you know, one of the things I love about Tony is he will clock my ass, I can come out with some limiting belief or I can be like, in some little, you know, I put myself in a little pigeonhole box, and you will absolutely just clock me on it. And not very many people can do that. And you do it and you do it really well. And so I just appreciate that. You know, it takes courage. And it takes bravery to, to clock a friend like that. And so I just want to say that means a lot to me that you vulnerably show up authentically that vulnerability and, and do something that feels so like he really care, you know, it just really makes me feel like you really care and it's a beautiful thing. So thank you for that.
Tony Scott 4:24
And to me, that's the beauty of you know, real friendships. So you know, to be able to have the freedom to be authentic and you know, tell each other you know, something that's beneficial and not to just say it to find fault. But if you've seen me in a situation like that, I'm going to tell give you ideas on how you can make it better instead of just pointing my finger and saying this about you. But yeah, you've brought up my HERO Black woman on occasion so
Coach Maddox 4:52
I'm glad I could do that for you. All right, let's get down to business. So the The question of the hour is, what has been your biggest challenge in life that you have either gotten through or are continuing to work through?
Tony Scott 5:12
Oh, my God has been so many over the course of my life. But I would say the biggest is this whole journey of reconciling my sexuality and my spirituality. So that's probably been the biggest challenge. And in my case, as I share my story today is I've had to do that twice. So I've been in a situation where I've made that reconciliation, and then I live situation happened that put me back in a closet again. And I had to do that journey all over again a second time, but it stuck this time. So Oh,
Coach Maddox 5:51
yeah. I'm glad to hear that. You know, that reconciliation that you're talking about? It seems like that's not a conversation that we hear a lot about. I know it's big, because there's been many men on the podcast guests that have made a reference to their religious upbringing, or the way their parents treated them when they came out because of religious reasons. But we have yet to have a full blown conversation. If I'm not mistaken. This is my first episode where the the thing is that reconciliation. And so I think you're giving a voice to something that we shy away from perhaps
Tony Scott 6:32
what as my favorite draftsman would say she Angela Hallelu. There we go have that conversation.
Coach Maddox 6:39
Well, so take us back and start at the beginning.
Tony Scott 6:43
Okay. Well, my coming out experience was, I guess, maybe around 17. And it was fairly normal. You know, I've been blessed to not have a situation where, you know, I had, you know, my father didn't kick me out anything good. You know, I remember telling my father, that I was gay, and he actually started crying. And he just responded. And he's like, he asked me if I was sure was his first question. And then his second second statement was, what it doesn't change the fact that you're my son. And that's kind of that was pretty much the big, you know, thing about my coming out, the coming out got a little more difficult when it came to my church life. So being a African American child, you know, we black kids, we grew up going to church from the day of birth until the day we die. And, and I had a mother who was a diligent and a churchgoer. And I just my whole life growing up was just the church, the church, the church, the church, the church. And it was very tough to hear sermons or you know, see things on TV, when people are talking about this wonderful thing I discovered about myself and to be called an abomination, or you're going to hell or you're wicked, or God hates you, and, you know, to hear those kind of things. And it kind of makes you wonder within yourself, am I wrong? Because I really do believe that I was born this way. I know, there's the argument has been going on. It's like, you know, people say that we chose this lifestyle, but I don't believe this is anything that I chose. And I believe now, you know, without doubts that, you know, God uniquely created me and loves me as I am. So that is a struggle for a lot of us gay men who have grew up, you know, with a very good Christian or religious families, and especially with the opposition to, you know, homosexuality, in a sense, and it puts you in a situation where you have to find out who you are, it's like, do you go against the status quo, and take a stand for who you believe you are in that effort to be authentic? Or do you water yourself down and just force yourself to be it in just for the sake of acceptance? So that's part of what that battle of reconciling your sexuality and your spirituality is about? Not to mention, like, you know, with scriptures in the Bible, you know, we know like the classic six clobber passages and people will talk about Leviticus and all of these things. And, and it's like, when you are not knowledgeable, and you're still in a learning phase. It's like, Oh, my God, that's the Bible. How do I argue with those things? But I've learned how to reconcile. I've learned how to reconcile my relationship with with my higher power, and I'm good and my mission in creating grace for gays was to empower other gay and lesbian people to be in that same space where they can make that reconciliation, and be in power and be strong and be free to be themselves still feel loved.
Coach Maddox 10:09
So I'm gonna, I'm gonna reel you back from it, and I want to go back. I love what you're saying, but I want to go back to that time in your life 17 came out to your folks, and then realize that it wasn't such a friendly place when it came to church. How did you navigate that? How did you experience that? How did it make you feel when you heard those things when you're sitting in church service? And the minister's talking about, you know, gays being an abomination? How did that land for you? And how did you navigate that emotional minefield?
Tony Scott 10:47
I would say the way that I navigated back in those days was I kept myself hidden. And I know back in my growing up, you know, in the Bill Clinton years, you know, we had Don't Ask, Don't Tell, that was literally my policy concerning, you know, my sexuality, even in regards to you know, how things dealt with religion. But did that stuff hurt? Absolutely. You know, you know, even in this day and time we see people, they just go eff the church and eff this person out that person. And that's wonderful. And it may make us feel empowered in a moment. But it really does hurt to hear the words that people say, I mean, calling somebody an abomination. I mean, that's like, the worst thing you can say about somebody that's just like saying, You are a mistake, it's like Santa, you're just this vile thing with no value, or no place on this earth. So yeah, those things were always hurtful to hear, and to say. But I know, during that time, how I would deal with it is that I would minimize myself, I would try to be invisible, try to be under the radar, because I really didn't know how to fight back or how to how to address, you know, some of that negativity.
Coach Maddox 12:02
Well, you're you're describing something that for whatever reason, for some of us, it was the religious thing, for some of it was other reasons. But we as as gay people, are experts at becoming making ourselves invisible, right? We're absolute experts at it, and we get so good at it, that we don't even know how to actually allow ourselves to be seen. And that's, that's the premise of this podcast, creating the space for, for men to perhaps sometimes for the first time truly be seen and heard. So how long did you linger in that? Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and that hiding invisible place until you realize that you couldn't live there forever, that, you know, and I do want to something crossed my mind when you were saying that, and that is those people that are calling you an abomination and making you wrong? You know, I'm not a terribly religious person. However, I will say that my understanding of, of God and of Jesus is true, if you're a true Christian, you don't judge others. And I think that when you got people that are standing in high places, in the Christian religion, and they're casting those, those shadows, throwing that shade as the saying goes, I that's a conflict of interest to me. That's, that's like, how, how is it that they actually think they're truly up a person of of God and, and righteousness when they're judging others?
Tony Scott 13:55
Yeah, and I've come to learn and as I've, you know, grown and got a great understanding and coming to understand the nature of God is that those are the people who really have a lot of reconciling to do, you know, because they're kind of stuck in a belief system, that's not really valid anymore. And they have totally missed the memo of why there is a quote, unquote, you know, Jesus, even if Jesus is real there, they missed the whole value of you know why we needed a Jesus but I won't go too deep in that because you don't want me to get to preach it on here right now. But, but yeah, it took it took, like the rest of my high school years. And really, I think the turn came land because I really didn't have a lot of gay people in my life. Or I remember going to my first gay bar at 16, you know, and I went in and there was this. I'd never even seen a drag queen and never heard of this drag. went in. I just don't I walked in and ever since thing after those like, Hey, let me come I went in I went running out because I didn't know what that was or they just saw Justin's hair and dress it. It was just wild and I did not go back again till I was like night. That scared me that bad I thought I walked into a haunted house or something. But the turning point for me was, and that's why I'm so excited. We have so many programs and stuff for, for young gay men and, and lesbian women, that there was an organization when I was growing up here in Dallas called gay and lesbian young adults GL y a. And that was my first contact with other young, you know, gay people who were my age and kind of in a coming out process. And that was the turning point, because being exposed to community really was the turning point. And I got to see that this thing that I've been told is so horrible that I want it to keep like this secret. And I'm seeing all these wonderful, amazing people who are just literally giving me life.
Coach Maddox 16:07
Yeah, you found out you weren't alone. Exactly. Because I do remember that. I do remember realizing that I had an attraction for boys. And I thought that I must be the only one in the entire planet. You know, I had no idea that there were other people out there that were like me. And it was it was a very big day when I began to realize that there were others out there. Your sound just went off.
Tony Scott 16:38
Sorry. Sorry about that. Yeah, absolutely. That was a very wonderful day to just encounter community and recognize that I'm not alone. And yeah, just to see other people who are, you know, in this life, and it wasn't a horrible or negative thing. It was a beautiful thing.
Coach Maddox 16:57
And did you at that time start to be more outwardly? Did you let people did you stop hiding, I guess is what I'm wanting to ask.
Tony Scott 17:07
Yes. And no, when I was around them, yeah, I stopped hiding. When I was around, like my straight friends or church community or so. Yeah, it was back to hiding again. Yeah. So I was living living a dual life at that point.
Coach Maddox 17:25
And how long did that last?
Tony Scott 17:28
That lasted until I discovered a church in Dallas, a gay and lesbian church in Dallas, which at the time was still is the world's largest gay and lesbian church is in Dallas, Texas. And that was the I went from the gay and lesbian Young Adult Community T to this to discovering a gay Christian community. And then that just took me to a whole nother level of empowerment and understanding and led me to a place where I didn't feel like I had to hide anymore. So I've came all the way out. I was community activist, every walk every March, I was there, I was joining all these boards, doing stuff in the community. So I was like, just out in every way possible, out and proud.
Coach Maddox 18:16
Well, and you became very, didn't you tell me, you also became very involved in the church, which, by the way, for the listeners is called the Cathedral of hope. Yes,
Tony Scott 18:27
came very well involved in the church and the church community, voted me to be on the board of directors for the church. So here I am in a position, you know, working with the church leaders or made me a church leader, and, you know, helping to go to church for you know, manage any finances and, you know, planning for the future. And that was such a beautiful time. And it was an empowering time.
Coach Maddox 18:52
And just when you thought it was really like safe and comfortable, then something just took turn the tides.
Tony Scott 18:59
Yeah, just when I was kind of getting my groove on, and I've been there, I think I was in that church, maybe 13 years. So I was, you know, part of that community for quite a long time. And like I said, my business was thriving, and you know, everything was, was going well in my life, and an opportunity of a lifetime came my way to have the job of a lifetime. And I decided to take it. The job of a lifetime put me in a position to work at a very prominent evangelical church with a very prominent leader, and in a very executive role for myself. So it was a job of a lifetime. But it was a decision I had to make to get that experience which I think I was more driven more towards, you know, resume and really just trying to learn and explore It's other parts of the faith with this new empowered me. So I decided to take the position, but it ultimately landed me back in the closet again.
Coach Maddox 20:11
And did you know that that was going to happen when you accepted the position?
Tony Scott 20:16
Oh, absolutely, I knew because like I said, it's like mixing oil and water church engages, sometimes just doesn't, you know, mix together well. But even you know, when I talk with friends and family about it, you know, everybody had mixed emotions. But I'm of the thought that sometimes we have to go into other communities to really affect real change is that you can't really change the church, particularly that side of the church, unless somebody's promoting change from the inside. I think real change comes from the inside. So that was part of my motivating factor, hoping that I could evoke change from the inside.
Coach Maddox 21:00
And what was what would you say? And maybe you just answered that right then. But what was the one thing that made you go back in the closet and give us your sense of self and freedom? What was it that what was the brass ring or whatever, you know, that would make you act? Because how long did you stay in that position? And are we are we not naming names of churches or pastors? Okay. Good to know. Prominent? Oh, very prominent. Big?
Tony Scott 21:40
Yeah, I would say the catalyst was one I was attracted to the experience, you know, to it was to be able to do you know, because I've always been a marketing and advertising guy. And here I am having an opportunity to do this at a level that I've never done it for. So definitely, I have to career motivation. Three, it was being able to be attached to something much bigger than me. So, you know, here I am, you know, coming from the gay and lesbian Church, which was prominent in its own right. But when you look at this other entity that I was a part of, we're talking like, maybe 100 times bigger than that we're talking worldwide global impact, you know, and that makes church. Yeah, mega mega everything.
Coach Maddox 22:30
Football Stadium church. Yeah.
Tony Scott 22:34
So yeah, that was probably the draw, because it was an opportunity to just experience. Yeah, it was, it was a new experience. So although, you know, it came with risk, you know, the risk being having to keep myself hidden and in the closet. But I still to this day, I don't regret the decision I learned so much from from that experience. Did I have some hard and tough roads along the way? Absolutely. But I don't regret the experience at all. How long did you stay? I believe I was part of that community overall for maybe eight, maybe eight to 10 years? And actually, yeah, eight to 10 years overall.
Coach Maddox 23:21
So you went back in the closet for eight to 10 years? And I hear you, you're saying that you don't have any regrets? But was there any really negative impact in your life on on that, that going back into the closet and hiding for another decade? Was there any fallout from that, that you didn't anticipate that was like, Holy Toledo kind of stuff?
Tony Scott 23:47
Yeah, there was definitely some fallout. And I think it was more mental. Because as as the years went on, and you know, I will say that that ministry always treated me with love and respect. And I've never felt attacked in any way. Yeah, I may have heard one or two messages, particularly from guest speakers or so but that that ministry always treated me with nothing but love and respect, and I have nothing but love and respect for that ministry. But I would say, as you were saying, I think the damage was only inside because it got to a point where I felt like I was just suffocating. You know,
Coach Maddox 24:28
you're taking words right out of my mouth. I can feel the suffocating feeling, I
Tony Scott 24:32
think. And I felt like I was suffocating. So it's like all of these wonderful things I'm enjoying. You know, I mean, we're talking, you know, meeting celebrities, and I'm working on faith based film projects. I mean, I've done worked on films, my box office records so far as far as faith based films, and I've been part of the marketing team on it's $300 million at the box office. So we're talking doing big things, but the cost was As internal, because it got to a point where I just couldn't hide anymore. And not only because of my sexuality, what some things that a lot of people don't know when you are attached to a high profile person is that, particularly if you're in their inner circle as far as their upper leadership team, from a PR perspective, anything you do is as if that person did it. So the same media pressure that the celebrity is under, you being a part of that inner circle, you're under that same pressure, you have to watch what you say, and then immediate, you have to watch what you say, when you're done. It's like, if I were to be called, you know, it's I got caught in some sort of SEC scandal or something that wouldn't be as damaging to me as it would be for the high profile person I worked for. So I have that pressure of trying to keep my life, not just my gay life, but my life period, you know, aligned, and when you're in part of a, I guess, a mega church culture like that. With 10s of 1000s 30,000 40,000 members, there's not anywhere you can go in a city without seeing a church member. So you mean that I would have restrictions with my drinking? I probably couldn't be I couldn't be seeing, you know, at a bar or partying? Or if someone that was some of my own decision, because of just appearances, things, but every part of my life was censored in some way. And that got to be very suffocating.
Coach Maddox 26:35
Did it? Was it where you really couldn't have friendships or relationships?
Tony Scott 26:43
Yeah, it was, it was sort of like that, too, I had to be careful who my friends work at. Sometimes people want it to be friend you to get a connection with the high profile person you're connected to. So that was always one thing. And I particularly chose not to date or so during that time, because it wasn't not fair to the person not be dating, because, you know, we really couldn't be out in public holding hands. And, you know, and doing things. So, you know, I didn't even date during those dates, because I want it to be fair to the person that I would be with, I think that's such an unfair place to take an out person and forced them to have to be out just for the sake of being with me. So I think that was one of my concerns.
Coach Maddox 27:30
Well, you're you're describing some pretty massive sacrifices that you made to be there. And, and even still, you're saying that you don't have any regrets that if you had to do it all over again, you do it all over again? Yes. Well, I mean, I think it was probably a perfect training ground for what you're doing now. It was the, it was the final stepping stone. So what was it that let's let's backtrack a little bit, again, 10 years or so 10 or 12 years in this ministry? What was the dominant determining factor that made you decide to leave that and to have your second coming out?
Tony Scott 28:20
I would say, as I said, I think it was the mental toll it was taking on me. And it like I said, it was taking a mental toll, just to have a life that's so constrained, it's almost like a pressure cooker where you can hold all of that in for so long, and it builds up and builds up and the top is about to explode. And I think that was kind of where I was, I just got to a point where I just did not want to be constrained anymore. I got tired of hiding, I got tired of not being able to be myself, I got tired of not being able to go and do the things I wanted to do because I still although I was in the closet, publicly, privately, I still had gay friends. And then it's like, I got tired of turning down things that everybody wanted to do. Hey, come out with us. And it's like, well, no, I can, uh, you know why I can't. So it just got to a point where I just saw that I was missing out of so much more in life than I really want it to experience and I had to make a decision. Is it more better for me to just stay this path, which was leading to success for me personally on so many levels, versus the personal costs that it was costing me, you know, my mental health, not having freedom, feeling restrained feeling, you know, restricted, and I got to a point where I had to fight for myself to make a choice to choose me.
Coach Maddox 29:46
And how long ago was that?
Tony Scott 29:49
Believe it or not, that was actually not too long ago. We're talking maybe 2016 2017 Less in
Coach Maddox 30:01
five to six years ago, yeah, you left the ministry, right. And
Tony Scott 30:08
I'd not only left the ministry, I left the city, I moved to Los Angeles and decided to stay in the faith base realm, but from a business standpoint opened up a faith based marketing agency. So I wasn't in the closet, I was still partially in the closet, because I didn't really discuss my personal life, you know, when I'm working with, you know, all these studio executives or so, but I didn't live my life, you know, privately and without hiding and risk and restrictions, because in a big city like Los Angeles, you can do that, where everybody's like, live and let live and people aren't as concerned. When you live in Dallas, which is considered the buckle of the Bible Belt. There was a whole lot more freedom and flexibility in Los Angeles. And it's just like, an everywhere just being gay was just accepted like the gays rule, literally, you know, West Hollywood and, and Los Angeles. So but it's like total turnabout experience.
Coach Maddox 31:13
Yeah. Sounds like, well, what's what's life been in this last five or six years since you took that? That route? What, what has come about after lots of repression and feeling suffocated for a decade or more? What's your experience now?
Tony Scott 31:35
My experience now is that I feel like I'm having my second when, to be honest. I feel like I'm like, a teenager just graduated from high school. And I feel like my life has so many possibilities ahead. And part of that is, I would say two years ago. That's why it's so ironic that ad, National Coming Out Day was just, even though we're recording this now, but National Coming Out Day was literally yesterday. And I was thinking back because I had a moment of tears yesterday, see if I can say this without crying now. But I was thinking back to two years ago, because like I said, I was still doing some of that faith based work, but I just say, You know what, it's just time to not hide anymore. Why am I hiding anymore? So I made my infamous Instagram posts where I was on a beach in Los Angeles in Santa Monica. And I was in a rainbow painted lifeguard tower, and I made this very long post. So I came out publicly for the first time, you know, in all those years, and I have felt so free and refreshed since then.
Coach Maddox 32:46
That's beautiful, Tony. And that begs the question, how did that Act of, of just coming out publicly affect your faith based business and clients?
Tony Scott 33:00
Well, I am no longer in the faith based business anymore.
Coach Maddox 33:06
Is that a result of coming out? I think
Tony Scott 33:09
that is that is part of the result. But some of it is not that I was fired, or you know, people didn't want to do business with me. I just decided I didn't want to be in that world anymore. Because I can't really be authentically me. So I don't think I didn't want to work on those projects where I have to hide and I really can't talk, you know, I can't speak my own personal, you know, life truth. So, I reached the point where I just didn't want to do faith based up anymore. And I decided to pivot. So now my thing is publishing and coaching. You know, default. Beautiful. Well,
Coach Maddox 33:51
what would you say has been the best part of that? This time since you publicly came out? What What? What did that open up for you?
Tony Scott 34:04
I would say, which is why I'm so glad I'm on this show. Maddox. Thank you for inviting me back. That's why I said I from the moment I met you, when I heard this was called the authentic gay man. podcast is that is exactly what has opened up for me. It's just being able to be my authentic self. And I've taken my experience from that first round. And I've taken my experience from that second round. And I've learned so much, you know, and I've been so empowered, and that whole spirituality and sexuality battle is not even a battle anymore. That's something that's been won. And I created grace for gays, which is a movement and it's also a ministry because I wouldn't I made the decision to position myself to help other gay a GLBT Q people in general, be in a position where they don't have to feel minimized about their sexuality when it comes to their faith. I don't want people to feel rejected, I don't want people to feel outcast. I don't want them to feel unworthy. And I'll take what I've learned from the evangelical community and what I've learned from more of a progressive community. And I found some little secrets along the way that I had to write about. And I'm going to share some of the things that helped get me through it and helped empower me. And that was the genesis for creating grace for gays Because grace, just that word alone, it just makes me smile every time I hear because that is the whole beauty of why people always like, well, who is this Jesus guy? Why did Jesus die for me and all this sort of stuff, you know, and just the basics of Christian faith. All of that was to give us grace. And Grace is just God's love God's unmerited favor. And grace is not something you have to earn, it is a free gift available to everybody on this earth. And nobody can deny that to you. And that's why I chose grace for gays, because people have denied us grace for so long. But it's not theirs to own or to take away from us.
Coach Maddox 36:20
I love that. And the name itself certainly has a beautiful ring to it, as well. So tell me a little bit about what your vision for the the movement, the grace for gays movement, tell me a little bit about your vision. And also, you can speak about I know you've got a book that's in pre pre pre order right now, it's soon to be released, if you want to mention that. And. And then I I want to ask you if there's any one, after all, your experience with everything you've shared, is there. One particular wisdom balm? If there's any listener out there that is struggling with that reconciliation? of, you know, spirit and sexuality? What would that wisdom bomb, and I've lived too many things on on you all at once. So
Tony Scott 37:24
we'll come back to that wisdom bomb. You remind me of that one? Yeah. So I would say that you write ever so many things,
Coach Maddox 37:33
the movement tell. You tell it tell what your vision is for the movement?
Tony Scott 37:37
Yeah, my vision for the movement is to why and like I said, I've published the book, because I want it to talk about some of these things I've learned. But my vision for the movement is really to just have a new path forward in that conversation when it comes to homosexuality and the church. Because this has been a centuries old battle. It's the same old stuff. It's like you got books on both sides. And, and everybody's still fighting and debating scriptures. And my movement is about let's try a new, let's try something new that that ain't working. We've been doing this for for years and years is not necessarily moving the needle forward. We've had some brilliant writers on the subject who have said some great things, but it's not easy, neither side is moving. And both sides really want the same thing. If you can take a higher look and just kind of look out over everything. We all want the same thing. So my goal is to create a new path forward in a conversation. I don't want to debate scriptures. I don't want to argue I just want to take just the basic foundational truths of the gospel for those who are Christians or believers, that just the Gospels alone, make room for gay and lesbian people don't have to debate Old Testament scriptures. We don't have to debate New Testament scriptures. We just need to talk about the grace. Grace covers everything. Grace covers the sin conversation. Grace covers whether God loves me, grace covers whether you are accepted. Grace covers everything. And with swit, the direction I've taken and wanting to teach in the book, and even in speaking engagements. That's just I hang my hat there. You can throw the Vedic scriptures at me, we can do that dance and dance. I've never lost the debate. I've never lost the theological debate. Because you can't get around love and grace. You just can't. And that's where I choose to hang my hat. So I'm not going to argue with you. I know what's available to me. I know how God feels about me, and I'm good with that. And I want gay people to feel the same way. Be good with your own personal relationship. with your higher power with your Creator, it doesn't matter what other people think or say. Beautiful. Yeah. And if you want that one bomb, not the quote scriptures on here, you know, but the thing that really is the foundational truth of my life. It's the Scripture Bible is Romans 3839. And that scripture just to paraphrase is basically says, Nothing in all creation can separate me from God's love. So that means the church can't separate me. That means no preacher can separate me, Fred Phelps run a Westboro church in Kansas, with his God hates facts. Science can't separate me. My sexuality can't separate me. How I feel about myself can't separate me, people calling me an abomination or saying that Hi means living in sin. It says nothing. In all creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, period.
Coach Maddox 41:05
You know, there's something about that I, you know, this is similar, but a little bit different. When I was young, my, my mother would say to me, there's nothing that you could do that would ever make me stop loving. Absolutely. You could be a rapist, you could be a murderer, you could be in prison. I might not agree with what you've done. But I would come visit you and I would love you to sign. Wow. And that's what came to my mind when you said that nothing can separate us from that, that love of spirit. That's beautiful, Tiny.
Tony Scott 41:39
And that's the secret to a powerful relationship with God and your Creator. You have to believe it. Is this not so much that we love God, you have to believe that God loves you. If you can't get that locked down, you will struggle. You have to believe that God loves you, despite all the noise around you. Yep.
Coach Maddox 42:02
Absolutely. There's the wisdom bomb right there in a nutshell.
Tony Scott 42:07
You is easy to love God. But do you believe God loves you? That's the catch.
Coach Maddox 42:14
Well, and you know, that's reflected back to us. And that oftentimes we don't love ourselves. Yes. You know, it's hard to allow God to love you. When you can't love yourself. It's hard to let anybody love us when we can't love ourselves.
Tony Scott 42:27
If you can't love yourself how to heal, you're gonna let God love you. But
Coach Maddox 42:31
it's all it's all intertwined. It's like, you know, and every thread in that tapestry is is important. Well, awesome. I really I you know, even though we've talked a lot, that's the most thorough that I've ever heard the story and it's a it's a great story. And I'm, I'm certainly knowing that there's going to be some listeners out there that again, get great value out of this. So thank you,
Tony Scott 42:55
I must have done good because this is the most quiet I've ever heard you on any podcast.
Coach Maddox 43:00
Well, I'm just I guess I'm spellbound. You had a lot to say I wanted to I wanted to let you say it. Awesome. So let's move into rapid fire questions. What do you say?
Tony Scott 43:12
Let's go, you're ready. I'm ready.
Coach Maddox 43:15
So what is the one thing that you most wish that you could change about the queer male community?
Tony Scott 43:22
One thing I wish I could change most about the queer male community is I wish we could change our obsession with aesthetics. We're so obsessed with the way the body looks, the way the face looks, the way that clothes look. And we don't get to see the authenticity and the beauty of people. So I wish we could change our obsession with aesthetics and look deeper on the surface. Go deeper than the surface
Coach Maddox 43:49
look for that inner beauty. Yes, it's amazing what happens
Tony Scott 43:54
out a booty is good. I mean, out of beauty, I set out a booty out of beauty and our booty is good. The inner beauty is still something that needs to be on a list. So
Coach Maddox 44:04
it is, you know, if you've ever experienced that even once it changes everything. You know, when when you allow yourself to see someone's inner beauty. It absolutely transforms their outer beauty right in front of you. Absolutely. Like they they literally, I had this experience just in the last week. You know, I was in the presence of somebody that I I don't know, you know, I they were not unattractive, but they they weren't. I wasn't like going, oh my god, you know, but after just a little bit of time seeing the inner beauty. I turned my head back around and it was like, Oh my God, you know, like they looked completely different to me.
Tony Scott 44:55
Wow. I love that. And I love that there's some thing about me when people really authentically connect with me. I have one overall racist people, white supremacist people, they're like, it's just something about you I really like you know, and, and that comes from being able to look beyond the surface and to live with them.
Coach Maddox 45:16
Well, and you know, I can say you're you're very easy to like, you're very, very, like. All right, next question. What has been the most difficult aspect of being a man of color in the GBT Q community?
Tony Scott 45:34
Oh, we bout to record a whole new podcasts, we got time for another?
Coach Maddox 45:41
Well, you never know where that that could be arranged? Probably all
Tony Scott 45:44
right, because I can really talk about that. I would say the most difficult thing, from my perspective as a black man is the fact that it's just that I don't think we practice what we preach, because we talk about all this diversity. And, you know, we fight out in the straight world to be accepted and to be received and to be loved. And, and we have issues within our own community. And I think that is the biggest piece that hurts the most, because I see all of this talk about diversity. But a lot of time, it's surfacey. And you can go somewhere, like, an app like Grindr, not saying, I'm on Grindr, but I'm not ashamed if I do. But when you see stuff, like, you know, no blacks, no fats, no fems, or, I've been in situations where I've gone out on dates, I quit date you, but my friends really wouldn't accept me dating a black person, or people only wanted to be connected to me because of, you know, stereotypes about black men. So I just, I just, that's probably been, the hard thing is that to really find true acceptance, you know, and to not be judged by my color, you know, or people want me around just to say we're diverse, you know, we want our token, black person this, like, if we're going to talk about it, let's be it all the way, and be loving and accepting as a community. Because if we're going to put that standard on the outside world, we need to do that inside our own world.
Coach Maddox 47:26
I agree wholeheartedly. I think that more than anything, we as a community need to walk our talk. We do. Because that's not necessarily the case. You know, we're so busy talking about all the other people that are judging us, and we're not paying any attention to the fact that we are completely judging each other. You know, I've said for many years, and I'll say it again, nobody can treat a gay man worse than another gay man.
Tony Scott 47:56
Oh, yes. Nobody.
Coach Maddox 47:59
Hands down. Nobody. That's been my experience. You know, now I have some wonderful, gay friends in my life that treat me like friggin royalty. So I'm not bad mouthing the whole community. I'm just saying that we got a lot of work to do yet. There, we've got a lot of work to do. And that's specifically work towards being a more authentic community.
Tony Scott 48:24
And opening our horizons, it's like we get stuck in liking the same thing. Let's try some different this add some flavor and some variety, you know. Yeah, exactly. I agree. Break up some of these clicks, you know, let's let's let's diversify.
Coach Maddox 48:38
Exactly. So final question, sir. What is your superpower?
Tony Scott 48:49
I would say my superpower is my ability. In fact, let me put it this way. Most people in my life, they call me the voice of reason. And it doesn't matter what the situation is. I have a unique ability to be in the middle of any topic. And I can look at it objectively without taking sides. And I'm gonna tell both sides to truth. So my superpower is being having the ability to be a very objective person. And that doesn't just help me within a social context. Even in you know, my work, you know, when I own an ad agency or marketing agency, I could look at some artwork and take totally take my opinion out the door and look at it through the lens of a consumer without any personal preferences. So I would say that's my superpower is that I have a natural I guess I'm wired to be a centrist that I can be the in the middle of any issue and cannot take Besides, and I can bring both of those sides together because I have the ability to find common ground.
Coach Maddox 50:05
Well, and knowing you, as I know you now, I think that an aspect of that is bringing a unique perspective. Yes, you know, you frequently will share a perspective with me that I'm like, you know, my head whips around. And that's cool. That's definitely a superpower. It is definitely
Tony Scott 50:29
given me the ability to walk in so many different circles, straight circles, gay circles, church circles, red circles, poor circles, black circles, wide circles. It just gives me the ability to walk in so many different communities and aspects when you can be that person that walks right down the middle, and everybody doesn't feel you know that you are leaning one way to other. It's tough sometimes on the political side, but even in politics, I'm the same way. I tell people, I'm neither right wing nor left wing, I'm for the whole bird. Because the bird fly of the right wing is fighting against the left wing, somebody has got to be for the whole bird. Somebody has to be the person thinking clearly in any situation. And I'm biased because you can't find solutions when you're all you do is fight.
Coach Maddox 51:21
No, you're right. And you're right, the bird has to have both wings to get off the ground and fly. And that's something that's going on in our world right now. Our right white right wing and our left wing are not cooperating at all. And so the bar don't get me off the ground third
Tony Scott 51:35
is having trouble. Yeah.
Coach Maddox 51:37
Big trouble. Well, you know, I just want to say that and this you don't need me to tell you this, but knowing you the way I know you and hearing your story and, and loving you the way I love you, I just want to say that you know, you are indeed definitely an authentic gay man, Tony. And like I said, I know I don't need to tell you that. But it still is was worth we're saying
Tony Scott 52:07
that says that. And that means I know your mission is just to help people find him authentic self. So that means a lot coming from you and and I applaud and appreciate the work you do when I first heard the name of your podcast, it's like I knew I was going to go into love you because somebody needs to be concerned about that.
Coach Maddox 52:28
It has become something that I sleep, eat, breathe, dream, you name it, the authentic stuff is in my radar and in my viewfinder, every waking moment and even some of my sleeping moments. Wow. So yeah, it's very, it's much at this point. It's internalized. So Well, this has been awesome. It has been wonderful. Thank you so much.
Tony Scott 52:54
Thank you and have an authentic day everybody.
Coach Maddox 52:59
There you go.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Tony Scott is an ®EMMY Award winning marketing entrepreneur and faith-based communications expert. A licensed and ordained minister, He was previously marketing chief for one of the nation’s largest evangelical ministries. The plot twist is that prior to his career in the evangelical world, Tony served in leadership at the world’s largest gay & lesbian church. The lessons learned between these two extremes motivated Tony to launch Grace For Gays, a new ministry committed to forging a new path forward for inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the Church at large.