Trey Pearson, a dad of two, was fast becoming a Christian Rockstar with his band Everyday Sunday — but that all changed when he came out in 2016.
Trey Pearson's twenties were unlike anything most of us will ever experience.
While touring the world with his Billboard-charting Christian rock band in the early 2000’s, he married a church girl (despite never having even kissed one) and soon they had their first kid, and then a second. His band, Everyday Sunday, began selling more records and his presence on the music scene was growing — he was quickly establishing himself as a modern religious rock star. He had gained a following, was becoming influential, and by all accounts had crafted a lush future for himself — or so he thought.
It was all based on a lie. Trey was gay, a secret he had no choice but to guard fiercely thanks to his religious surroundings. Trey’s twenties were a time when he did what he was supposed to do because that’s all he knew. Until he couldn’t anymore.
“There were moments when I was young that I thought any attraction to a boy was my brain being controlled by the Devil,” he said.
Trey was religious — very religious. He thought that on his wedding night, it would all just come naturally, that’s how it was supposed to work, right? It didn’t. And after seven years of marriage, it became clear to the couple that it was all a façade, until finally one day the pot boiled over and Trey’s ex-wife just came out and asked: “Are you gay?”
He went cold. For the first time, his truth was out in the open and poised in an adversarial way.
While Trey was touring, he had an excuse to ignore those dark little thoughts constantly lingering in the deep pits of his mind. “I was progressing in my faith when I was performing, I was affirming other people. I would think ‘I can’t be gay. I can’t.’ So, I did what all formerly straight dads do, and I pushed it down and pushed it down.”
Until he couldn’t push it down any further. He had run out of storage space for the lie to grow. And, for the first time, Trey recognized this moment as a crossroads at which he would have to make a life-altering decision, and so that’s what he did. “I came out because I needed to tell my story,” he said. That was in May 2016.
As he soon learned, church gossip travels quickly.
Everyday Sunday was slated to perform at Joshua Fest, a major Christian music festival, in September of that same year. Up until the week of the event, Trey was thrilled to be the first openly gay artist to ever play at major Christian music festival. Maybe, just maybe he thought, he could make this whole thing work.
What Trey didn’t know was that behind the scenes, the staff of the event were planning a mutiny. A handful of key players to the festival's operations threatened to walk out if he was allowed to perform. As a result, Everyday Sunday was removed from the festival’s lineup. While he managed to still perform with another band, Five Iron Frenzy, this moment was a pinnacle in Trey’s life.
Then things took off. He made a swift guest appearance on The View and began to make the talk show circuit—Trey’s story went worldwide. He was featured in The New York Times and was interviewing with journalists in too many countries to count.
Shortly after stepping into this new kind of limelight, Everyday Sunday broke up.
At that moment, Trey entered a dark space; he had seemingly lost all he’d spent decades to build in a matter of weeks. But, shining through that dark space was a ray of honesty. Of truth. The newly found calm center of a life billowing around him was that Trey was finally able to be himself, open to embark on a new life, his life, authentically.
He took a break from music and committed himself to, well, himself — for the first time in a long time.
“I had to accept my happiness but give myself space to grieve the things I had lost,” Trey remembered. “I was the one who started Everyday Sunday, it was always my baby. After I came out, it broke up. Now I just do solo music.”
He does, however, still perform his old songs. Thinking about that, he said: “Sometimes, it’s fascinating to look back at the lyrics and remember who I was then.” The hook to one of Everyday Sunday’s hit song Wake Up! goes like this:
‘Cause I don’t wanna keep sleep walking through, Endless days, I’ve had enough of,
Going nowhere, God I want to
Wake up! Wake up!
And that’s how Trey is able to reconcile his past with his future, his coming out with his desire to live. He now shares custody of his two kids, a boy and a girl, with his ex-wife in Columbus, Ohio. While tensions between him and her will likely always be fraught, Trey believes, she knows how much he loves his kids. “I put a lot of effort into staying close with them. I’m just so excited to watch them grow,” he shared. Talking about his kids makes Trey smile.
Trey no longer considers himself an Evangelical Christian, though he does still identify as spiritual. Perhaps, he said, “in the most basic of ways, I believe that Jesus said love your neighbor as you love yourself. And that’s my current view.”
Above most things, Trey is happy that his kids aren’t growing up among the world in which he did — a world that made him famous on the inhale and miserable on the exhale. He said, “I don’t want them to be around such a bigoted place. My kids can like boys, or they can like girls, or both or neither. I really don’t care, but I can’t wait to see what they’ll be.”
Down the street from his current place is a lesbian family, he says, and there’s also a gay couple a few doors away. Community is important, Trey believes, and he’s still fighting for the visibility he had hoped for five years ago — visibility in numbers.
“I believe we’re all connected,” Trey shared. “And I like giving that hope to my kids. Whatever God is, or whatever you want to call that whole idea, the universe perhaps. I think all we’ll ever really do is catch a glimpse of it, of the greater picture. And the only way we’ll find that connection is through loving each other.”
Trey likes believing there’s something more. He has learned to accommodate his faith with his past and his dreams with his reality. June 2021 marks five years since he came out, and since his life changed completely.
In that half-decade, he has been nominated for a GLAAD award, released a solo album, launched Trey’s Safe Space (an online music support group for members of the queer community), and in this near-post-COVID world he has started to travel the country doing acoustic rooftop shows.
He’s also met someone. His first boyfriend, named Jonathon. “I recently introduced my boyfriend to my kids, and they love him, and he loves them.” Before he met Trey, Jonathon was in a relationship with a woman. The pair recently moved in together and are eager to embark down what’s a new path, for both of them, hand-in-hand.
The lyrics after the hook in Wake Up! go somewhat appropriately like this:
It's now or never, come and pull me from this dream
Where everything is colorless, and nothing is what it seems
I believe, only you can make me come alive
Help me be so consumed, open up my eyes
If one thing’s for certain, Trey’s future is anything but colorless, and everything may indeed, finally be what it seems.