JOSHUA BUCHANAN

I no longer identify as gay, and none of the drug and alcohol use is part of my life. I am healthier and more fulfilled than ever before.
— JOSHUA BUCHANAN

I am from North Carolina and had a great family as a young child, but I grew up being bullied by neighborhood kids and classmates. I was so frequently called names like “gay” and “fag” that I began to believe that must really be who I was. When I was ten, my parents divorced, after which I experienced even deeper hurt as a result of our broken home. 

Throughout my middle and high school years, I experimented with drugs and partying and became really confused about my sexuality. In high school, I started becoming more comfortable with identifying as gay. After graduation I was fully in that lifestyle, with continued drug use and promiscuity. As a result, I was kicked out of my father’s house, which led to what I perceived as rejection. 

In 2009, I hit my lowest point in life—finding out that I was 

HIV positive. My life crumbled, and I thought that it was over. Hopeless, I turned to Jesus and began going to church. Most importantly, I read the Bible and was able to open up with church friends that believed in me and loved me. This new family mentored me, and I experienced emotional healing. Because of my faith in God and this community of believers, I am healthier and more fulfilled than ever before.

My life today is so much different. I no longer identify as gay, and none of the drug and alcohol use is part of my life. I am currently working on my Master’s degree in Theology at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA, and traveling all over the world for missions work. My life is so much different now, and I have no regrets.

FloridaBree Stevens