This post is dedicated to my boyfriend who has changed my life so much, and makes me a better person every second of every minute of every day. For my one hundredth blog post, I’d like to, for the first time, write about being in a Frum and gay relationship. There’s a lot of work that goes into any relationship, and in my opinion, even more work in a gay relationship, and even more work in a religious and gay relationship.
I want to express some of the difficulty of being a Frum and gay couple. For me, it’s easy to parade around New York City holding his hand, being part of a couple like so many others. But with a Yarmulka on both our heads, it changes how people look at us. There’s the opportunity to make a tremendous Kiddush Hashem, or sanctification of God’s name, by being a happy gay and religious couple, although many more religious people would argue that it is a desecration of God’s name for me to be in a relationship in public. But for most in 2011 New York City people will say “Wow- even religious Jews can be homosexual and happy and in a relationship.” For others, it says- “Wow, homosexuality even exists in the Jewish community, who knew?” For others it says “Ew, gay people, what an abomination”. But for my friends and my community, and for his as well, I hope it says- I’m happy that they’re happy.
But within a religious community there is an added level of discomfort for a gay couple. It was one thing as a single person, but now it is likely that others will feel more uncomfortable because I’m in a relationship. A large percentage of my Orthodox friends have never interacted with a gay couple before, so comfort levels will vary and I acknowledge that. Do I act the way I want to act? Do I inhibit certain behaviors in front of certain friends? More so, it’s one thing for someone to stay in the closet and for me to out- and for both of us to interact, but it’s another thing for me to interact with my boyfriend in front of someone in the closet, and I would hate to cause them discomfort. But it’s my right to be who I am, and my right to be happy with my boyfriend.
As many other blog posts have ended, there’s a balancing act. Sometimes I can be however I want with my boyfriend, and sometimes I’m better off acting less like a couple in front of specific people. My boyfriend and I work to make sure no one is uncomfortable with us, but we also try to keep our own rights and happiness in mind.