A FORMER Christian rock star has publicly come out as gay following a promise she made to be honest about her sexuality.

UK-born Vicky Beeching, who sold millions of records in America’s bible belt in the 2000s, endured isolation and exorcisms in an attempt to banish her same-sex attraction.

Yet one of the first people she opened to was best friend Katherine Welby, daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury  the global leader of the Anglican Church.

“What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love,” she told The Independent.

“I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people.

“When I think of myself at 13, sobbing into that carpet, I just want to help anyone in that situation to not have to go through what I did, to show that instead, you can be yourself – a person of integrity.”

Beeching grew up in Kent, in south east England, attending Pentecostal and evangelical churches.

A worship leader and gifted musician since her teens, Beeching headed to the US in her early 20s, releasing three albums in five years and performing at many of the country’s mega churches and Christian festivals.

One of the most difficult times, she admits, was performing in front of churchgoers in California during the referendum on Proposition 8 which sought to ban same sex-marriage.

“I would find myself at these events that were anti-equal marriage rallies, but I was only booked to sing so there was no way I could say anything,” she said.

“If I had, I would have got kicked out.”

One of Beeching’s most disturbing memories was from before her recording career, when, in front of 4000 people at a Christian youth camp, she sought help for her same-sex attraction.

“I remember lots of people placing their hands on my shoulders and back and front, praying in tongues really loudly and then shouting things: ‘We command Satan to let you go! Cast these devils out of you! We speak to you demon of homosexuality: let her go!’,” she recalled.

“It was really frightening. I was already feeling so vulnerable, it was horrible to think, ‘am I controlled by demons?'”

Beeching avoided dealing with her sexuality by throwing herself into her work.

But it was a brush with serious illness that forced her to be honest.

“I looked at my arm with the chemotherapy needle poking out, I looked at my life, and thought, ‘I have to come to terms with who I am’.” she said.

She committed to coming out at 35, she told the UK newspaper.

“35 is half a life,” Beeching said.

“I can’t lose the other half. I’ve lost so much living as a shadow of a person.”

However, while she has struggled with her faith, Beeching said she was determined not to give it up: “The Church’s teaching was the reason that I lived in so much shame and isolation and pain for all those years.

“But rather than abandon it and say it’s broken, I want to be part of the change.”

(Image credit: © Blaow Photography, 2014, via vickybeeching.com)

© Star Observer 2014 | For the latest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also pick up the next Star Observer monthly magazine November 21 or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.