I’ve mentioned before how every weekend, the Shabbat Table conversation will very often revolve around topics like who’s getting married, who’s dating, what’s going on in the community and gossip like that. Growing up, once or twice the question of “who’s gay” also came up a few times, and it is slightly offensive to think that now my name is brought up around Shabbat Tables. But people will talk.
More than people talking, however, are people asking questions. I attend many meals, and anyone who knows me knows that I am an open and proud homosexual. Generally, within minutes of meeting me, many will ask about others they suspect who may or may not be gay. They ask me to confirm rumors, to voice my suspicions- and make no mistake, it’s a really difficult position for me to be in. I will never out someone, but often feel that I do not want to lie or I feel pressure to answer honestly, in hopes of building trust and friendship with the people I’m spending time with. But I fight myself, because I know how hard it can be for someone to be in the closet- especially when others are talking and speculating about him or her. I don’t out people, and have been working on myself to keep a poker face and not make backhanded comments that can really ruin someone’s reputation.
But the bigger picture issue here is- why am I even being asked these questions? It’s not my job, nor other people’s jobs to question someone’s sexuality. It’s not my job, nor anyone else’s job, to force someone out of the closet. I do hope, with my activism and my blog, that I encourage people to come out and not run away from who they are. I hope people see that it is possible to be gay and religious and out at the same time. But if someone chooses not to, it is not the community’s job to speculate, spread rumors, or to discuss around the Shabbos Table what someone’s sexuality is.