Student keeps faith, gay pride


Bethany Probst

Gay-Straight Alliance President Garrett Hutchinson says he contemplated suicide after being bullied for his sexuality, but found his passion for life in God.

Bethany Probst, Reporter

Thirteen-year-old Garrett Hutchinson’s fingers traced the braid on his mother’s best leather belt until they felt the buckle. Sitting on his mother’s bed after another rough day at middle school, the North Carolina teenager intended to fasten the belt around his neck and end his life.

A room he said brought him a feeling of warmth throughout his life suddenly felt cold.

Hutchinson, who had been bullied at school that day, said a voice in his head told him to turn around.

But when he did, he said, the room was empty.

What he saw, he said, “save[d] his life.” It was his mother’s pink and brown Bible, lying open on her dark wooden nightstand, waiting to be read.

The book was opened to 6 Corinthians: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men … will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Hutchinson, who is gay, recalled his eyes moving along the page to read: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

According to Hutchinson, these words inspired him to loosen the belt and give life another chance.

“At that point, it was very clear to me that God doesn’t give a s— what you do,” Hutchinson said. “So I can do this completely, even though it says in the Bible that I can’t.”

Yet five years later, the pastor of The Church of the Resurrection in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, where his family had moved, told him not to come back.

“There was a new youth minister and she never gave Garrett an opportunity,” Hutchinson’s mother, Alice, said. “She didn’t want him around. I think she concocted this whole story of him being gay and people weren’t comfortable with him being around the [younger] kids. It hurt him deeply. It absolutely devastated him.”

Hutchinson left that church, but his faith has flourished, his mother said.

“He’s always had God in his life ever since he was little,” she said. “He had me buy this big cross that had ‘Our Father’ on it, and he always had it in his room. … He can sit here and debate with people on them saying, ‘It says in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong,’ and he’ll say why it’s not.”

Although he no longer goes to church, Hutchinson said he is still a Christian through praying and reading the Bible.

Hutchinson said he hasn’t let his faith dampen his gay lifestyle. He is the president of AACC’s student-run Gay-Straight Alliance, performs in drag shows and maintains a serious relationship with another gay student.

Hutchinson performs at local bars as drag queen “Porcelain Noir,” a character inspired by the American pop singer and model Porcelain Black.

Bethany Probst
AACC psychology student Garrett Hutchinson says people make fun of his drag persona, but he uses religion to reject the hate.

Hutchinson described his drag persona as “fearless but friendly,” although he said her punk-rock style might be intimidating to audiences.

Hutchinson said despite the nasty looks and comments he gets from people when he performs at local bars in drag, his faith guides him to see the good in everyone.

However, he said embracing his faith hasn’t always been easy. When Hutchinson was 18, he developed a sex addiction that stemmed from a breakup with his ex-fiance.

“I wanted to stay abstinent … and then I found out that he had been cheating on me,” Hutchinson said. “I was emotionally torn down and I think sex kept all the emotions away. It was like a big ‘screw you’ to everyone who had hurt me.”

However, it was at the peak of Hutchinson’s sexual addiction when he found himself in grave danger.

Hutchinson met a man at a gay bar, who served him an alcoholic drink.

“We went back to his place,” Hutchinson said. “For the next three days, I was kept captive [with] drugs and Roofies. I had no idea what was happening. … I remember being dragged down a hallway with other people looking at me, [and then] stuffed in a sauna fully clothed.”

On the third day, with no idea of what was going on, Hutchinson escaped.

“I got out of the bed, collected [everything I had], and got into the back porch where there was a 7-foot concrete wall. … I jumped over the wall, got into [his captor’s] car and I gunned it out of there,” Hutchinson said.

He said although the experience traumatized him, it helped him discover that he wanted to study psychology.

“Through everything I was going through, I always wanted to help others,” Hutchinson said. “I felt like I almost became a psychologist myself because of all the people I helped.”

Hutchinson said he eventually relocated to Maryland, where his mother had moved, and started taking classes at AACC.

“I realized that being so close to the nation’s capital, I had a larger voice. I wanted people to hear my opinion,” Hutchinson said.

He said he shares his dark past with humor. “Tough stuff needs to be talked about,” Hutchinson said, “but I want everyone to be happy at all times.”

Hutchinson’s mother said his compassion for others is his best quality.

“He is very caring,” she said. “He’ll check on me. … He’ll ask, ‘Mom are you OK?’ when he notices I’m not home. … We keep an eye on each other.”

Kimberly Madero-Craven, former GSA president and Hutchinson’s close friend, said Hutchinson’s Southern charm stands out to her the most.

“He’s a weird mixture of a Southern gentleman and a flamboyant gay guy,” Madero-Craven laughed.

“I don’t see my sexuality conflicting with my religion and I was just glad that more people see it that way,” Erica Romero, GSA vice president and a second-year studio arts student, said.

“I’m very happy that I grew up in the South as a gay child,” Hutchinson said. “It encouraged me to be the strong … person I am. I’m living my full life the best I can.”