Founder, Brian Terada. I grew up in a world that told me to hide some of the most important feelings that were happening inside of me. These feelings defined so much of who I was, that this suppression would obviously become detrimental.
These hidden feelings weren't just ones of same sex attraction, but they also included shame, fear, and even love.
I was ashamed, but I had to hide the shame. I was afraid, but no one could ever know that, because then they would wonder why. I was in love, but my love went unspoken and ignored.
In college, I fell in love with my best friend (If you've listened to the podcast, you know who I'm talking about). I thought that mayyyybe this would be the person who I could finally be open with about all of my hidden feelings of shame, fear, and love.
But then the worst thing imaginable happened: he fell in love with a girl.
So then, for almost two years, my world became bleak and my heart with it. I couldn't love anything or anyone- and nothing made me feel further from myself than knowing that I had not the capacity to love.
I became bitter, cynical, and downright hateful. Why not hate the people who hated me? Why not desert the people who made me feel so alone?
But before I could escape my Christian community, there was a Divine force that surrounded me with people and and circumstances that forced me to finally be honest with myself and with the people around me.
And you know what?
I can't imagine a better place that I could have come out at than at my Christian college with my Christian friends. I can't imagine a group of people that could have screamed "BE FREE" at me louder than those people.
And so, in the last place I ever expected to find it- I found hope, joy, peace, love, and freedom.
But the story doesn't stop there!
That was three years ago, and ever since then, I've become obsessed with helping other people find what I found WHERE I found it. I heard stories of people like me who had the exact opposite experience of what I had in the Church, and I knew that I needed to do something about it. I realized that all I want to do is stand in the middle of the battlefield and hold out my hands, hoping to pull the opposing sides together.
Maybe we could share stories. Maybe we could say we're sorry. Maybe we could find freedom.
So, this endeavor began with the tedious recollection of journals, notes, and memories. Over two and a half years, I collected all of these and compiled them into a book called SPLIT. But then, just before I was going to publish the book, I realized that it first needed to be a podcast. So earlier this year, I began the meticulous process of recording this podcast audio book, and then I began releasing one episode at a time (kind of like Serial). Along the way, friends like Corey Martin (music), Sarah Lochelt, and Jackie Tackaberry helped me make this writing really come to life. The podcast is called SPLIT, but eventually the name will be changed to BE FREE (duh).
Oh and also, just before I began posting these podcasts, I also launched a YouTube Channel! There were so many conversations and ideas swirling around in my head, that I had to record them and put them up just to see if they could help other people. The video subjects include "How and Why to Come out", "Is Being Gay Wrong", and many more.
By posting these videos and podcasts, I finally have come to see that I may not be crazy to think that it is possible to dive into the tension and come up on a lighter, more hopeful side. People from across the country and across the world have been listening to my story and watching my videos. They've been sending me messages just to thank me, or to share their story with me. It's been insane. Some people have told me that this work has made them want to be a Christian again! Other people have told me that it's helping them finally come to peace with who they are.
THIS IS BIG:
So because I saw that the podcast and youtube channel were a place where people felt like they could be honest, I knew that I had to continue exploring ways to CREATE and BROADCAST these safe places. Hence, BE FREE.
Now, the third wave has launched. From YouTube, to Podcast, to Non-Profit.
I seriously just want people to be able to see ALL of the people that they can be honest with. I want them to see all the places they will be loved. I want them to see all the places they can be free.
For the longest time, I thought that I didn't belong anywhere. I thought I had to hide and lie until the day I died. But I was wrong. There were plenty of people who wanted to love ALL of me all along, I just didn't know it. Be Free is my greatest effort to solve that problem for other people.
And that is my Be Free story.
Thank you friends, peace and freedom,