Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The other side of the fence

I know I'm on the other side. And a good friend argued in his post HERE that it's easy to be on the other side looking in, which is true, but there is so much more to say. I know I represent a minority, not majority, of gay Orthodox Jews who have chosen to come out and be honest about their true feelings. But I don’t look back and judge those in the closet, and I empathize with their plight as I too have been there. But a situation of someone older than me, who has been struggling longer than me and who is in a more commitment-prone life stage, in a relationship with a guy but still dating girls does upset me, and I think I have that right to be upset by that.

Some say coming out is one of the most selfish things a person can do- and I agree. But in my case, I think it was selfish and also extremely selfless. Because there is a huge part of me that is so happy to be out, solely because of the impact and influence I can have on others. Call it haughty, call it egocentric,call it stupid, but I believe in inspiring people. And when I know people doing the more difficult and complex thing, by pretending to be something they are not for years longer than I have, I get upset. And no, they don’t have to come out- but think about the girls who meet the man of their dreams, but for come reason this man can’t love them back. And he gets frustrated that he still hasn’t found the right one. And he’s in “Shidduch Crisis” because he can’t meet his true soul mate. There’s a reason for that! Because it’s not going to be someone of the opposite gender.

I never push anyone out. If someone doesn’t want to come out of the closet, that is their right and choice. But for someone to continue dating girls, while in a relationship with a man “on the DL” is not fair to anyone involved, especially not the person themselves. And if someone does come out, it doesn’t mean that they can’t pursue relationships with a person of the opposite gender. Since I’ve come I have built many new relationships with women, and with every one of them I do think about what my feelings are and if they’re platonic or something more. Because no matter what I “identify” as, I know that I still have the right to decide what's best for me. And even in the closet, it’s one thing to know you have a strong relationship with a man and be okay with that, but don’t be scared to have feelings for a girl- and if you do follow through with them, but not at the same time you have stronger feelings for a man.

If a homosexual is giving himself the opportunity to be in a heterosexual relationship, that’s great, but give yourself the true opportunity to be invested in one relationship- be it a homosexual one or a heterosexual one. Don’t pretend you can pull off both.


  1. wow--solid post--but individual situations aren't so black and white.

    i would venture to say that most frum guys in their teens and 20s want to feel as though they will marry and raise a family--and if they have had gay feelings--or even experiences--they HOPE that they will "outgrow" these feelings and live a more "normal" heterosexual orthodox life. they therefore hope that meeting a girl will turn them on to heterosexuality--even while they deal with their gay impulses.

    not even part of this equation are those who may truly be bi!

    frumgay--i agree with your sentiments that a girl's feelings are paramount and must be taken into account--and most girls probably would not want to even date a gay or bi guy--but the reality is that in spite of this attitude--frum gays and bis will still try to prove to themselves that they can overcome their gay feelings.

    some won't--and never marry; some will finally 'fess up and come out of the closet; others will remain closeted but still know that they cannot date a girl; and some--yes!--will even marry--and of this group, i bet that some will basically have what will appear to be happily married relations with their wives, and raise wonderful frum kids--and either not play the gay game anymore, or cheat online, or have a guy on the side to play with--the same way many married guys have a girl on the side.

    there is a private listserv of frumgay guys--which includes some guys who WERE married and were miserable, and who finally were divorced--as well as some guys who claim to be gay, but also claim to have wonderful marriages, and of these, some even claim to never act sexually upon their gay impulses and that they refrain from any halakhically prohibited gay activity.

    i believe that you are truly in the minority of frum gays and bis who are willing to definitively come out and declare their confirmed homosexuality while still a teen. but most are not like you!

    at least you are to be commended for your self honesty--so relatively early confirmed--and for your forthright outspokenness

  2. Ely,
    I'm planning on posting on this topic soon myself. As it happens, I know a number of people in a similar situation. While I understand that some people are not ready to "come-out," or simply do not want to, I too am upset by someone putting on a facade of heterosexuality while dating someone of the same gender "on the DL."
    Besides the unfairness of the secrecy, the aspect of situations like these that I find most infuriating is the overbearing dishonesty. It is one thing to not be fully aware of your sexuality and date the opposite gender. It is an entirely different situation to be questioning your sexuality or be certain that you are gay and continue to date the opposite gender. Especially in the latter situation, there is no longer a lie of omission, there is just a lie. Furthermore, to be in a relationship with someone of the same gender "on the DL" but still dating the opposite gender is not only an untruth, but it is disrespectful to all the involved parties.
    Lets not forget that the attempt to juggle multiple relationships "on the Dl" is more commonly referred to as cheating.
    I completely agree with your last point.
    Chag Sameach

  3. Preaching to the choir, we agree. Everyone who agrees agrees. But, what about the non monogamous gay couples, one of whom cheats. Statistics prove that half are moral, noble, honest, and the other half, the dl, are low. You can argue the point. You can win the gayme, but can you change reality? Obviously, not everyone is you.

  4. Anon: 8:21,
    I'd love to see these statistics. Would you mind providing a link?

  5. Yeah, Anonymous 8:21, the issue isn't monogamy in the gay community, which is a complex issue which varies from couple to couple, it's with deceitfulness and lying about one's sexuality and as a result possibly hurting another person terribly.

    Ely, I completely agree with your point and posted on that guy's blog. It's astonishing how someone could confuse protesting that kind of behavior with trying to out someone.

  6. I don't understand why coming out would be considered selfish. The only possibility I can think of is that you are potentially hurting your parents and maybe some of your friends who don't know how to confront having a gay son/daughter/friend and would wish they didn't have to.

    On the other hand, I would say said parents (I'm not going to get into friends - if one's friends don't want to associate with someone who is gay they will drop you and that is that, while parents should love you forever) are probably/would probably be hurting very much to think that their son/daughter is single, not interested in dating, will be alone forever, is not interested in getting marring like Hashem wants, etc. etc - without an explanation. I can think of several people I know who are in the closet, whose parents are confused and VERY upset that they are not showing the "proper" interest in dating and getting married - and are sad and scared for their childrens' futures. I think these parents would be devastated to learn that their children are, in fact, gay - but they are pretty devastated right now, too; I think the thought of having a child who will never get married and be single forever - a straight child, as they see it - is making them feel pretty terrified as it is. So I ask again - why is coming out selfish?? And to whom??

  7. I don't think it is selfish to come out. I think it is bold and will help others in the community.

    As far as men who date women and men I have a personal story to share. As it happens, I married a bi man. I only found this out after 6 years of marriage and we had started a family. From what I understand, he had some experiences in college and realized that he had a gay part of himself. He thought these feelings would go away after he got married the first time and they didn't. Though there are other reasons his first marriage didn't work out. We are very lucky that it has worked out with us and we are quite happy. But that isn't the case for everyone. Though some men can start out bi and stay bi their whole lives with varying degrees of inclinations and others can completely shift over. For instance a man can lead a heterosexual lifestyle (and be fulfilled) and all the sudden the switch goes off and they realize they are gay. So when someone is a young orthodox Jew and just started to date and realizes they have gay feelings I am sure it is tough and confusing if they have expectations of themselves and from parents/community on how to live their life. And especially when they are not sure where they fall in the spectrum.


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