Michael Passons was once a member of Christian vocal group Avalon, but is now revealing the shocking reason why he was thrown out of the group 17 years ago.
“Avalon showed up at my house and told me I was no longer in the group. And it was all because of who I am,” he said, recalling when he was asked to leave the group in 2003.
“They came alone, but they had been speaking with management and record label before they visited my home,” he continued, admitting he was “blindsided.”
Prior to his exit, he revealed he was “required to attend some reparative therapy sessions,” which he described as a form of conversation therapy meant to attempt to make a person identify as heterosexual.
“That did not go well,” Passons admitted. “After about a month, I said, ‘Look, I’m not going back to that guy. Let the chips fall where they belong.'”
Shortly after, he added, “a member of the group had begun to form an alliance with management, label and other members to kind of help speed up the process of me not being a part of the group anymore,” he said.
“I’m a gay man and I’m glad to be,” he added. “At the time I was conflicted because I was involved in a culture where that was not accepted. I knew if I were honest, I would lose my career, I would lose many things — and I did end up losing all those things I feared I would.”
As he explained, there “was no way to fight” his departure from the group.
“Back then, gay people could be discriminated against in the workplace. There were no laws against it in the secular workplace,” he recalled. “Because this was a faith-based organization, they had every right to set the parameters.”
As a result, he took his exit “as my fault” and experienced “a lot of PTSD involved from that point on for many years.”
However, he’s now come to be in a far better place. “I’m not ashamed of who I am. I’m not ashamed of my journey,” he said. “I just wish I had become the person that I am now sooner.”
A representative for Avalon hadn’t yet responded to People‘s request for comment.