Saturday, January 29, 2011

Coming Out, Part II

Happy weekend to you all. Part of Eshel last weekend, we discussed many issues relating to coming out and telling your family and friends about a sexual orientation. When it comes to being LGBT, especially in the Orthodox world, coming out is automatically associated with rejection, hate, and removal from a community. Many in the closet presume that coming out will isolate themselves from all they know and love in their communities.

I'm here to try and persuade some of you otherwise. It's really important that you come out, if you're ready, and not to be scared about other people's reactions. I've said over and over again that everyone needs to be an individual and not worry about what other people think- but now I'm saying more than that. More often than not, my friends were upset at me for holding in my sexuality. Yes, mad at me. They were upset I had presumed they would react negatively, and were upset that I thought just because I was gay, they would leave me. So many assured me they wouldn't- and they haven't. In fact, many of my friends and I became closer after I came out, because I was finally open and honest with them about who I was.

Not only is it important not to let the community and our friends dictate who we are and how we should behave, but we should be giving them the benefit of the doubt! We should assume and expect that they be supportive- because so many are! For those still in the closet, just know that you're friends can so often surprise you and be supportive, more than you could have ever expected. This was a sentiment shared by many gay Orthodox people at the weekend. We all found that coming out was a much more pleasant experience than we had anticipated and people were a lot more ready to support us than they were to leave us.

Coming out is a preocess that one has to be ready for, that they feel they need to do, and that they do at their own pace and time. However, when that time comes that one feels they are ready, don't let the fear of other people's reactions stop you. More often than not, I have found, their love and support will surprise you.

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It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews