Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I will not marry a woman

I thought this was clear from the 50+ posts in the past, but based on a recent comment I shall clarify. I do not intend, as the person I am today, to marry a woman. I say today because I never know what kind of things will happen in my life and one day I may wake up and be straight. But odds are slim. So no, I do not plan on marrying a woman.

The way I love men is not something explainable, you can't put in to words what it's like when you have such a strong love, and that's what I have felt for men, not women. My best friends are girls/women who I think are the most amazing people the world and I love them so much, but not as much as I love men, I can't no matter how long I've known them or how many hours I've spent with them, it's not the same as my love for people of the same gender. I hope that makes sense.

For that reason I'm not marrying a woman. But it has been suggested that that is not a good enough reason- that I should just suck it up and follow the Torah's law and marry heterosexually and build a family (not going into how the physical relationship would or would not work), and do things the "natural way". So yes, while plenty of men do that I do not think it's fair for a woman to love me with all her heart while I constantly feel something lacking, and that I can't be as close to her as I feel to a man. I can't imagine putting a woman through the hell of having a husband who's not totally there. It's not fair to HER. So even if I wanted to "get over it" and just pretend like everything is normal, I think that would be even more selfish than coming out and living my own life, it's even worse to ruin someone else's. It's wrong.

If I marry a man is something different and another topic, and something I still have not decided for myself at this point in time. But back to the point, no, I am not planning to marry a woman.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Whaddya Want From Me

As a post- Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur post, the Jewish holidays about starting a clean slate in a new year, a questions that has been plaguing me for a while comes to mind. What does God want from me? As a gay Orthodox Jew- does he want me to be alone for the rest of my life? Does he want me to go through endless hours of therapy that are highly unlikely to succeed?

And bigger than this- as I prayed on Yom Kippur I thought- what does He want from us? As a Jewish nation in the 21st century with technologies beyond people's wildest imaginations and capabilities, sexuality and sexual promiscuity rampant and dominating our cultures worldwide, what does He want from us? Should we shelter ourselves in the depths of Brooklyn and Lakewood and Bnei Brak, or do we encourage ourselves to grow and learn from the world around us, and challenge ourselves to remain faithful to God in a world that whose basic principles seem to go against everything Judaism holds dear?

The Torah, and more specifically- it's laws as decided by the Rabbi's- were decided in a completely different society and culture. PRayers were written for a different population to say. Unfortunately, today, our leaders don't feel close enough to understanding laws to allow law to be brought truly into a modern context or change things that were decided hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. I'm not calling for change of the Torah, or the laws uphelp by the Rabbi's. But I am calling for an understanding- and the room to believe, that not every single thing decided so long ago is relevant today. And of certain people feel strongly that God wants XYZ, while the community has been holding ABC, it's their right to do XYZ. Not just because they want to, but because they feel it's what God meant for the world today. Because every law made by a Rabbi is simply a Rabbi deciding what GOd wants from the world today, and we all listen to the Rabbis. But when it comes down to it- no one has divine inspiration today, no one talks to God, and therefore no one can command something of another as far as their relationship with God and upholding of the Torah.

I stopped in the middle of my Yom Kippur prayers, closed my eyes and said "God, we don't know what to do. We haven't had a divine inspiration in thousands of years, and we, as your nation, are just trying to figure out what you want from us in this world today- the 21st century. Forgive your people for the ways they may have misinterpreted your laws or did not uphold what you intended, we are all just trying our best- and will continue to do so."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Change, part 2

Here's a post a lot of you have been waiting for, for a while. I beg your indulgence and for your respect and thoughtfulness in posting comments, especially the anonymous ones. I will not be responding to comments.

The organization Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (formerly Homosexuality), known as JONAH, is a very controversial subject in the gay Jewish community, but more so in the broad Jewish community, especially the religious ones. The first line of defense for many children who speak to their parents about homosexuality is JONAH. This is for numerous reasons, one, they advertise in prominent Jewish papers that many parents read, and two, because the last thing a religious Jewish parent, or many non-religious Jewish parents want is a gay child. However, often the parents don't know the facts before sending their children to such an organization. I respect those who have worked hard within the JONAH program, and those who have come through it successfully, and know and believe that change is possible for specific individuals.

However, and I will only speak for myself, I feel it would do more harm than good. The reason I never posted about this before is because I never went through the system, so I felt inappropriate commenting on it. However, I currently find myself close with many people who have gone through the system- most unsuccessfully, some successfully- and I feel I know more about certain things. Without going into detail, there are multiple aspects of the JONAH program that would make me hate myself more than love myself, and it's taken me too long to get to this point in my life for me to go back and erase what I've accomplished. Further, I've seen people go through this therapy for ten years, and still not come out "healed", and that's not something I'm willing to risk. I'm pretty damn gay, and I know it.

I purposely did not go in to detail about their therapies and I won't. But lastly, I have to take up one issue in this time of repentance for the Jewish people. JONAH claims that they are true repentance for homosexuality. That it is any gay Jews obligation, in this time of year, to repent- and the only way to repent is to join their organization. This is false. This is wrong. This is not true, nor is it their program director's decision as to what God believes is repentance and what is not. That is between a Jew and God, not with other people in between making decisions. I believe, that with a full heart I go to God every year and ask for repentance on how I have served Him inappropriately and the wisdom to serve Him only properly in the future.

May we all be blessed with a year of true happiness.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Secret Life

Hey, I'm really excited it's September, b/c I have at least 5 topics to discuss, some revolving around the new year, some revolving around gay life in general, and, our favorite, the struggle of homosexuality and Orthodoxy.

I get facebook friend requests almost daily- not from people I know, but from generic, and clearly fake names representing fake Facebook accounts. Who are these people and why do they friend me? They're almost all religious Jews, who are hiding in the closet. Some young, some old, some married, some single- and they create these fake accounts in order to have an outlet for their sexual identity. Some are very flamboyant, openly "liking" gay porn sites or porn stars, others are just trying to exist and friend religious gay Jews that they've heard of so they don't feel so alone. I get frustrated easily with these individuals because I feel that they're only making their lives harder by creating a separate facebook. Not only do they have to live in secret that they are attracted to members of the same gender, but they literally create a secret identity- a whole other person, as an outlet for their secrets. They're teasing themselves with a life they wish they could lead.

Some of them are creepy- simply looking for sex and don't know how to go about finding it- and feel the need to stalk facebook for the gay Jews and their friends. Others are curious as to what the gay Jewish world is like and what it can provide them. It is a useful tool as a gateway to the gay Jewish world, meeting new people, facebook chatting to get an idea of what openly gay Jews are like, and perhaps meet some of us and slowly become more comfortable with who they are. Unfortunately, many just resign to the fact that they will always be alone, suffering, in pain. I have come to understand recently that they may not choose to be in the closet, its just that they cannot ever be gay, even thought they know they are attracted to people of the same gender. They know it, but coming out or admitting it openly is not an option- it's just not an option.

I salute those who have the courage to be "not just another email address" and empathize with those who still feel the need to hide behind an anonymous name, and feel legitimately badly for those who feel they don't have an option- and challenge them to just try and question that thinking.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews