Mentalist and magician Jeremy Rolston shares how his faith-based upbringing led him to ignore his sexual attraction to men, repress romantic possibilities and even say ‘no’ to marriage equality.

I love being gay, I really do. It’s been an interesting and difficult journey to get here though.

For my whole life I thought I was straight when in reality, I’ve always been gay. I just didn’t know it. I fooled around with guys long before I got with a girl, but still, I thought I was straight. I used to be romantically and sexually attracted to girls, and I’ve always been sexually attracted to guys, but I was never romantically attracted to them. I never wanted a boyfriend.


I grew up in the Christian church all my life until I was 23. The denomination was neo-brethren. I’m still not sure what that means but it wasn’t very strict like some churches are. I remember even though I didn’t think I was at the time, I used to pray to God that I wouldn’t be gay. I’d ask him to stop me from being sexually attracted to guys. I wanted it all to stop because I was so afraid of the consequences if these feelings continued. For 23 years of my life, I was told it’s a sin to be gay, it’s not right in the eyes of God, and I’d be going to hell.

Having been told this information from a young age resulted in me being so repressed, it didn’t even occur to me that I might be gay. I ignored the fact I’d fooled around with guys, was sexually attracted to them and they were on my mind all the time. Somehow with all of this going on I still believed I was straight. I even remember voting against the marriage equality bill when it was before Parliament, which I look back on with anger and disgust. Not with myself but with the church. It was so ingrained in me, being told, “it’s a sin to be gay,” the decision to vote no was made for me.

Fast forward to November 2017, two years after I left the church. I realised the difference between romantic and sexual attraction and figured out that I’m gay. The best way I can describe it is something in my mind just changed, a cog that had been stuck for years finally started spinning and suddenly, I was romantically attracted to guys swell. I could see myself having a boyfriend. Surprisingly, it wasn’t because ‘a certain person’ came into my life; it just happened. Boom! All these thoughts and feelings that had been repressed for 25 years came welling up inside me and it was life-changing. I’m so thankful I had that realisation.

Five years after coming to terms with my identity and accepting myself for who I am, I have been able to create the most personal and important show I’ve ever written. Combining my story with other queer stories, amplified by mentalism and magic.

After a successful run at the Auckland Pride Festival, The Best Is Yet To Come – A Queer Magic Show plays Christchurch’s Little Andromeda tomorrow 10 & 11 March, and Wellington at BATS Theatre on 21 – 25 March.