Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Porn Star

I’ve stayed away from political elements on ths blog for a long time, but something there’s something I have to mention today, as it relates to the LGBT aspect of the Jewish community as well as to Israel. Gay porn superstar, Michael Lucas, known for his directing and filming, recently took a stand against the LGBT center running an Israeli Apartheid Week event, aimed at the support of Palestine and the destruction of Israel. Michael Lucas is known for filming many movies in Israel, as he describes the landscape and country as breathtaking and his beautiful homeland as a Jew, and he also promotes safe-sex only, always using condoms in all his videos, which is revolutionary in the gay porn industry.

The concept of the LGBT Center in NYC supporting an Israeli Apartheid week event for Palestinian LGBT groups and supporters is a joke. Forget about the fact that Israel is not an Apartheid state, and that it’s an insult to South Africa to call the situation in Israel the same, and forget about the fact that Palestinians don’t even exist because Palestine was never a sovereign nation, and therefore it’s people never a people other than Arabs from various middle-Eastern countries. But what is ridiculous is the concept of anyone LGBT standing up for Palestine. How can anyone who supports gay rights support ANY Arab country? Palestinian Authority Police arrest and torture gay men, Palestinians single out gay men in their communities for collaborating with Israel.

In strong contrast, Israel is often a refuge to gay Palestinians who cannot live in Palestinian territory because of persecution and violence. Israel is at the forefront of gay rights, prohibiting workplace discrimination in 1992, allowing openly gay soldiers to serve in 1993, and giving same-sex couples full spousal benefits in 1994. But none of this matters.

Ignoring all the facts above, which come from HERE, Michael Lucas was right for one reason only- a place like the LGBT center should not be involved in international politics, and simply support those who live here, and their rights and safety in the US, and specifically NYC.

And don’t even tell me that because he’s a porn star he shouldn’t be listened to. While not a Jewish value, even a sin, and not even a respectable profession by many accounts, the point is this man holds clout in the gay community. Jews don’t have to respect him for what he does, but they can agree with his opinion and be happy that a Jew, with some amount of power and respect, is standing up for the rights of Israel.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gay Marriage, pt. II OR "Normal"

Last week, I discussed the institution of gay marriage from a legal/political/religious standpoint. This is gay marriage, but with a very different definition. Recently, there has been discussion over a controversial article from Ha’Aretz Israeli newspaper, about a Rabbi who sets up gay men with lesbian women, to get married and raise a family in the Orthodox community, as a means of keeping up their religion and finding happiness. (Article HERE) So far, 10 of the 12 couples have stayed together. They keep up appearances, sleeping in the same room but not sleeping together, and they procreate through artificial insemination.

Now when I first came out, this was something recommended to me by many people. Why can’t I just marry a lesbian? I felt this was not the means to a truly happy life- and I would feel too depressed and unfulfilled and I was not willing to “keep up an appearance” for the rest of my life. How can anyone be happy in such a position? But these couples say they are.

I think the place where the individuals in this article differ from my path, is their use of the word “normal”- 4 times in direct quotes from these couples, and once from the author of the article. I have chosen, yes chosen, to change the definition of “normal”. To look outside what I grew up to believe in, and instead create my own normal, create a world, even within Orthodoxy, where a gay couple can be normal, and not accused or assumed to be violating Torah law. Instead of forcing myself to go with Orthodox communal definition of “normal”, I thought outside the box, thought to change “normal”, to step outside the bounds of what had been accepted by everyone else.

Orthodox Judaism has never been a static movement, and there has never been one definition of “normal”. There has been change, progress, growth and development every year, in every community- conversations and issues that change the definition of “normal”. Forget about damaging human emotions, lying to your own children, and all the psychological ramifications, I simply ask, why does homosexuality have to be pushed under the rug, pretending it doesn’t exist, just for the sake of a “normal” that is always changing?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gay Marriage

I’ve never really discussed gay marriage here- Halachically (Jewish law) or politically. I do think, however, those are two very different aspects.

According to Jewish law, homosexuality is a sin, and whether or not every act of homosexuality can be considered a sin from the Torah or the Rabbi’s, the point is, gay marriage as a Jewish religious institution, does not exist. The Rabbi’s never set boundaries or laws, or how a wedding should be performed between two people of the same gender. There is no Ketubah for same-sex couples, there is no Chupah, and while the institution can be created, it has not been, and probably won’t be from an Orhtodox perspective.

Politically, the country is torn, many people are confused, but a growing voice and opinion amongst many is the following: the institution of marriage is a religious one, and it should not be up to the state who is “married” and who is not. Instead, the state should be giving out civil unions. Between man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, there should be civil unions. For people who want to be “married”, that’s for their religious institution to decide, and for a religious marriage contract to establish. A political contract would be a union. Now I know this may sound radical to many, but I think it’s a distinct possibility of what may eventually solve the “gay marriage” controversy.

For myself, I do want a civil union. I want a partner, a husband, someone who I am connected to by civil law, sharing rights and benefits, and creating a family of my own. Having children is something I have discussed in the past, and will get to discussing again soon, but not in this post. I do wish my religion could recognize my family unit however I choose to create it, but when it comes down to it- Orthodox Judaism does not, but that does not make me want to leave the community, it’s just a fact that I accept.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Hey- so to answer some of your complaints, again, complaints, I've written about JONAH in the past. That's why I will not do it again. One of the many times I've written about them was HERE. So I'm not going to address it again. At least not right now. But what I am going to address again- gay men marrying women.

Gay men marrying straight women or gay men marrying gay women, or women anywhere in between, is wrong. And it rarely works. And here's why it bothers me so much- every day, and if not every day than every other day, I get an email, or a Facebook message or some form of contact from men, married to women. What do they want? Well, depends. Some want support, which I am happy to offer. Some want advice, which I also am happy to offer. Some want a physical relationship or sex (which I turn down), but the point is that these are men, who married women because they thought it would just get better, they thought they're attraction would go away or that they could just ignore it, and if they married a woman their lives would just get better.

The advice I give? To be open with your wife about this, if you find yourself married and struggling. Because at least then the two partners can be open in their relationship and discuss possible options. I feel that's the only way for a man having homosexual attraction to at least not feel so alone- if they are open with their spouse about it. I never asked to be the one for everyone to come to with these "problems" or "confusions", but I did put myself out here, on a blog. And for that reason people do come to me, and I have to do suggest what I think is best, mostly because there is no one else. And because so many of these people come from communities that would never consider discussing sexuality, when it stares them in the face on TV and the internet and the news every day. So they look for somewhere to go, and they find me. So I have to do the best I can, and I make sure they know that life isn't over and that there are options.

Now I'm sure there are women that marry men, as well, for the same reasons- but I haven't heard from them. I just know that I need to reinforce something I have always said- that gay or confused/questioning men, should not marry women. I say confused and questioning because very often, those are the first steps to much deeper sexual orientation that can't simply be ignored. I'm not saying run around and sleep with everyone to figure it out- but before you rush into marriage to fix the problem, make sure you are fully aware of where your brain, body and heart is at. Otherwise too many people end up hurt.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews