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Christian TV host moves forward after coming out; plans farewell event featuring Sixpence None the Richer

Win a chance to hang out with Azariah and the band before his farewell event

August 1, 2008 F. Daniel Kent   Comments

O&AN wants to give you and a guest the chance to spend the day with Azariah and Sixpence None the Richer as he prepares for his farewell event and move to Los Angeles!

All you have to do to register for your chance to sit in on a show taping and hang out with Azariah and the band is send an email to us at contest@outandaboutnewspaper.com with “Azariah” in the subject line. PLEASE, be sure to include a day-time phone number in your entry, so we can buzz you if you win. Good luck!

More about Azariah and his life since coming out...

It was a brave move that nearly threw his life into upheaval when Azariah Southworth came out last April.

He received negative response from many close to him and lost his job as the host of a Christian TV show, Remix TV.  But all was not lost. Southworth maintained the rights to the show, even after being pulled from Christian stations. Now he is planning a move to Los Angeles where he will begin filming the pilot for a new The Remix TV program.

A going-away fundraiser will be held Aug. 31, at Aerial Nashville to help raise funds for Southworth on the Equality Ride. The event is being promoted in part by popular celebrity gossip Web site PerezHilton.com.

Southworth, who turned 22 in May, will leave for Los Angeles after returning from this fall’s Equality Ride, an annual six week tour with GLBT and straight students who peacefully protest. Southworth announced last month that he would participate in the event.

The “Riders” visit Christian colleges that expel students for being gay and engage in open dialogue to discuss the issue of homosexuality and the Bible. Many colleges decline to participate.

“I’m really excited to meet and bond with these very passionate people who care so much for each other and really want to make a change,” Southworth said. “It is very important for us to get the word out that what they are doing is not only harmful, but it is discrimination and it has to end. Being able to open that dialogue is an amazing thing. These places operate so much in a realm of fear that there is still a lot of real resistance. People really need to know that God is bigger than any sexual orientation or any box we can try to fit him into."

The ride is sponsored by a group called "Soulforce," whose stated mission is to cut off homophobia at its source -- religious bigotry. Soulforce uses a dynamic "take it to the streets" style of activism to connect the dots between anti-gay religious dogma and the resulting attacks on the lives and civil liberties of GLBT Americans.

They apply the creative direct action principles taught by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. to peacefully resist injustice and demand full equality for GLBT citizens and same-gender families.

“One of the schools that we will be going to, I am in charge of organizing,” Southworth said. “It will be very personal to me because of the effect that the leader of that school had on me growing up, so going there will hold a special challenge for me during the tour.”

In the past few months, Southworth has risen to many challenges.

He garnered national attention from Fox News, HuffingtonPost.com, PerezHilton.com and many others when he came out to O&AN on April 16.

“Life really became a big whirlwind after the story broke,” Southworth said. “I got calls and e-mails filled with encouragement from everywhere. There were tons of people who were going through something similar or who knew someone who had so it was really very encouraging.”

Southworth was very surprised by the extent of negative response he got from those who were close to him. He never heard anything from people at the networks except for a message from someone telling him to turn in his key and pick up his things that had already been packed for him. Despite some negative response he has gotten more support and is still on good terms with his family who are very religious.

A month later Southworth was diagnosed with a rare benign tumor and had to be admitted to the hospital to have it removed. Southworth said the quarter-sized spot had always been on his arm and suddenly started bleeding one night when he was out with friends.

“After the doctor removed it, he said he was surprised to learn it wasn’t cancerous because it was so incredibly rare,” Southworth said.

In spite of what has been a tumultuous year, Southworth remains positive about his decision to come out and his future.

“I don’t regret what I did by any means,” Southworth said. “I am very happy with the decision that I made. I had come to a point where I had to lie to people and put on a different face depending on where I was and who I was talking to. I wanted people to accept me as a friend for who I really was not who they expected me to be.”

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