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Conversations with George Azar

Today we’d like to introduce you to George Azar.

Hi George, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Like so many during the stay-at-home ordinances during the COVID-19 pandemic, a sense of loneliness and dread filled my body. Being haunted by my past and fearful of my future, I resorted to a former addiction to keep my wandering mind at bay. Opioids were a dangerous comfort, blocking the thoughts about my inadequacies and desires to terminate my existence. I lost my mom months before the lockdown, contending with our complicated relationship.

Months went by when I would pop a couple of pills and drive to the beach to escape the world around me. One November night, I invited my best friend and quarantine buddy over for dinner. After knocking back a couple of bottles of wine between us, she said, “babe, I don’t know much about your church days. Can you tell me a story?” I told her about my housemate, Jake, and how we had partaken in a secret romantic relationship. His termination of our relationship resulted in me being the problem because of my struggle with “same-sex attraction.” After exposing the intricate details of this story, she responded, “you need to write a book about it. Your story will help so many!” That night, I sat down at my computer with a wonderful buzz and wrote out the first chapter. The next morning, I woke up with a blistering hangover and continued to write. Over the course of four weeks, I had a full manuscript and titled the book “My Gay Church Days: Memoir of a Closeted Evangelical Pastor who Eventually had Enough.”

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I was contending with dark parts of my past that were hardly discussed in my years-long therapy sessions. I realized that I’d hidden the most complicated features of my history, resorting to addictions to stifle the noise of regret. Writing my story became therapeutic, unearthing events that had been tucked away in my subconscious for over a decade. My body started to tell the warning signs of this oppression: struggling with erectile dysfunction and gastrointestinal issues. I determined to resolve these issues by turning to opioids and classic avoidance personality tactics while subconsciously allowing the effects of these traumas to manifest in my body. It wasn’t until I started chronicling my life on paper, writing some of the deepest secrets in the form of storytelling. I began to notice my body releasing tensions regarding my dysfunctions, which allowed me to have more substantial conversations with my therapists and energy healers. I realized a much-unresolved business needed to be dealt with, which has been a constant to this day.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a CPA and have my own accounting & tax firm. My book is one of my hobbies. I didn’t consider myself a writer until publishing My Gay Church Days.

Related to the book, I’ve become an avid student of history, specifically related to the origin of religion. I am also a tenacious voice for dismantling conversion therapy due to my own experience with that form of “therapy.”

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a community starts with dismantling the beliefs that no longer serve you. We are constantly confronted with ideas and beliefs that were impressed upon us by influential people and groups from our adolescence. In discovering our own voice and thoughts on subjects, we are challenged to think outside of the box of our own worldviews and called to form a tribe that resembles the new belief systems we adopt.

My journey started with dismantling the thoughts my parents, church leaders, and other influential voices impressed upon me. The authority they possessed served a purpose for a season, but as I’ve continued to grow and evolve, those influential voices have contrasted with my new worldview. I had to learn how to build a community that encompassed my new beliefs, which started with therapy and defining my new life mantra based on my beliefs alone. Creating boundaries with the voices of old was a helpful tool to distance myself from my old worldview.

I believe that regardless of the context, groups and tribes serve a purpose for inclusivity and belonging. If a group, such as the Evangelica system, contradicts our internal voice, it is worth divorcing the tribe to find a new one. It isn’t an easy feat; I struggled for years to find a new community, but the opportunities of discovering myself were more potent than the fear of losing my community.

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Image Credits

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (speaking photos)

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