Damian from Boer Soek ’n Vrou (Pic: Donna Lewis)
Damian Engelbrecht, the first openly gay contestant on dating TV show Boer Soek ’n Vrou, says he wants nothing to do with Christianity after becoming the target of anti-gay religious bigotry.
The 37-year-old farmer is hoping to find true love by taking part in the kykNET reality series. He became the public’s most sought-after competitor after receiving the most letters from applicants wanting to date him.
However, it’s clear that he’s also bearing the brunt of homophobia and abuse from some of the show’s conservative fans because of his sexuality.
Last week, Engelbrecht took to social media to vent his hurt and frustration in a Facebook post that will no doubt be controversial.
“After the last few weeks I realized once again, I’m done with Christianity,” he wrote, adding, “but not with Jesus… because Jesus is not done with me yet.”
Engelbrecht continued: “I’m not a Christian! Never want to be one, especially seeing how Christians on social media are going on about gay people! Heartless! With hate! From now or am I just a child of God.”
He concluded with a quote from Mark 12:31 in the Bible: “You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than this.”
Engelbrecht, who farms cattle and sheep in Bapsfontein, Gauteng, has become increasingly vocal on his Facebook page in response to religious bigotry.
In another post, he sought to debunk the widespread belief that the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a condemnation of homosexuality, arguing that it is instead against rape and unbelievers.
Engelbrecht also addressed his own experience of growing up as a gay individual, explaining that “for me, it was never a choice…” He said he realised that he was attracted to boys and not girls at the age of seven.
“Knew through my entire school career I was ‘different’. I never realized I was gay… just knew I was different. In our house, these kinds of things were never talked about, and I was in any case still too young to realize what was going on.
“There are guys who have girlfriends, even get engaged, and even marry, and then later realize that they can no longer live ‘this lie’. They tried to be ‘straight’ due to the church, family, social pressure, etc, and that’s why there is sometimes the confusion that they now ‘chose’ to suddenly be gay. No! That person has always been gay,” Engelbrecht said.