For Streetvibes distributor Maurice Golsby, Sunday morning is the best day of the week.
“Saturday night can’t get over quick enough,” he said. “I lay my clothes out, take my shower, and come 6 a.m., I’m ready to go.”
Every Sunday for as long as he can remember, Golsby has taken the bus from his apartment in Cincinnati to an African Methodist Episcopal church in Covington. There, he likes to call himself “second in command”—the pastor, Rev. Doc. Wallace L. Gunn Sr., often has Maurice preach when he’s gone.
Sometimes, Gunn speaks about the sin of homosexuality; but it doesn’t bother Maurice, who is “no stranger to the homosexual lifestyle.” He’s been going to the same church since age four and says he discovered he was bisexual when he was seven.
Maurice prefers to keep his sexuality quiet—he generally separates his personal life from his life at church. But when last serious relationship with his partner of four years, Tony, ended in 1997, he didn’t have a choice.
“I loved him very much,” Maurice said. “I still do, today. He made me laugh.”
The two lived together for a while. Tony had met the family, even attended Thanksgiving with Maurice’s family. Maurice’s sister, Charlene Golsby, said she liked Tony a lot, and their mom did, too. But at age 29, Tony died in Maurice’s arms.
“He was happiest when he was with Tony,” Charlene said. “When Maurice lost him, he was really down after that. After losing someone you’ve been with for so long, it took him a while to get back to being himself.”
After Tony died, Maurice got wound up in drugs and crime. He spent some years in prison, and looking back, he says he thinks his life would be much different if Tony was still in it.
“I think if he hadn’t passed on we’d still be together. I think he would have kept me out of (prison),” Maurice said. “If somebody comes along in the future and makes me as happy as Tony did, that’s cool. But as long as I got me now, I’m fine.”
Maurice is no stranger to being alone, either. He has an apartment now, but has struggled with homelessness off and on throughout his life.
“That’s one of my passions, to help the homeless. I can learn from homeless folks’ stories because I’ve been there before, too,” he said. “I’m a check away from being homeless myself.”
He often channels this passion into his preaching, which he does an “excellent job” at, said Gunn.
“He’s more committed to church than a lot of people,” Gunn said. “A lot of people straggle into church not on time, but he’s always on time. He’s willing to help anybody, and that’s my favorite thing about him. They’re inspired by him. I’m inspired by him.”
Today, Maurice can be found early in the morning at Our Daily Bread, hanging out in the lobby of Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH), or on a good day, at Frisch’s with a Big Boy platter and chili on the side.
“My mom worked at Frisch’s for 30 years. I grew up on Big Boys,” said Maurice with a grin. “I have a friend who takes me to Frisch’s every year.”
And when he’s at GCCH, Maurice said he likes to joke around and make people smile.
“Maurice is the best friend I’ve ever made here,” said Josh Harness, intern at GCCH. “We bonded over the fact that we can joke around with each other to the fullest extent and still be friends at the end of the day.”