By Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue
About a year ago, Trey Pearson made a decision that would majorly change his life: the Christian rock musician came out as gay in an open letter to fans published in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It’s been hard in some regards, but there’s one word that best describes how he feels since that pivotal moment: free.
“I’ve been the most free I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” Trey tells Teen Vogue.
Trey’s announcement came after a several decades-long struggle grappling with his own sexuality. He grew up in a very religious household that taught him orientation should be straightened out. While still the leader singer of his band Everyday Sunday, he got married and had two children. Since his coming out, he and his wife have separated but still share parenting responsibilities. While the transition might be difficult, he’s thankful for having had a support system throughout it all.
“I’ve had a lot of people that have really come by my side over the last year,” Trey says. “But, also, literally, every week since I’ve come out publicly, and almost every day, I have just received thousands and thousands of letters and continue to do so from people who have been impacted by my story.”
And Trey’s continuing to share his story. He’s back in the music game, but apart from his band that had 20 tracks land on top Christian rock charts. Because he started the group back when he was 16, he’s excited to be able to start fresh and do things on his own terms, making decisions and having the freedom to do what he wants.
Trey has shared with Teen Vogue the music video for “Silver Horizon,” his first solo project. He grew up listening to the likes of Michael Jackson, Queen, and Elton John — and that sort of ‘80s pop and rock sensibility is definitely present in Trey’s new music.
For the video, Trey reached out to Stephen Cone, who wrote the movie Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party. The film centers on a 17-year-old preacher’s son who’s coming to terms with his own sexuality, themes that Trey felt connected to for obvious reasons. Stephen and Trey teamed up for the music video, which portrays two young men professing their feelings for another with a grand kiss in front of a church packed with people, all of which break into cheering when the duo lock lips.
“With his story we wanted it to be sweet and inspiring and a love story of sorts,” Trey says. “And to also to show that there are more and more open and affirming churches out there and that the world is changing … Then I think, obviously, with sort of my story in there, seeing that new beginning for myself was really powerful. I loved the way that it came together.”
While Trey has optimism when it comes to moving forward, he does admit that parts of the past year have been tough. In fall 2016, he was booted from a Christian music event Joshua Fest after several members of the festival’s production team reportedly threatened to walk out if Trey was allowed to performed (at the actual event he was invited by another band to join onstage for a number).
He’s also spoken out about some of these challenges while on The View last year, an appearance now nominated for a 2017 GLAAD Media Award. He’s honored to be nominated, given a chance to add another voice to the copious amounts of work that GLAAD does.
“Part of it was because I was so happy and thankful and I felt like this weight I had been carrying my whole life had been lifted off of me,” Trey says. “I just feel like I had to go through all of that to get to the light that was on the other side. That’s really what ‘Silver Horizon’ is about. It’s about getting through the dark to find the light.”
We’re looking forward to Trey’s first solo album, which drops later this year.