DeJuaii Pace is a 45-year-old preacher’s daughter and member of the award-winning gospel group, the Anointed Pace Sisters. She is also a lesbian who has been living her life in the closet, until now.
Pace is one of eight patients with an eating disorder to appear on the new OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network show called Addicted to Food. At the treatment facility Shades of Hope in Buffalo Gap, Texas, patients try to find the root of their food addiction—what Pace, who has struggled with compulsive overeating for over twenty years, tells TheRoot.com was her secret of being a lesbian and the use of food as a substitute for intimacy.
After years of denying her identity to family and futile attempts to “get rid” of it such as 40-day fasts and prayer, Pace is finally at peace. “I'm at peace...” she says. “I feel like a ton, a weight, has been lifted. I don't have to hide it anymore; I don't have to be ashamed.”
“I attribute my weight gain to not having a voice to speak out about things that were bothering me,” she adds. Now, she has lost fifty pounds and found a larger purpose in her journey, one that she believes her faith has called her to. “We cannot tell people what we've been telling them,” Pace explains. “I have friends who've stopped going to church because of that.” Not only does Pace’s story shed light on a much needed conversation, but it will also inspire others to speak out and know that they’re not alone.
GLAAD commends TheRoot.com for its coverage of this powerful story and has reached out to DeJauii Pace in hopes of providing spokesperson training in the near future.