Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't Hate

My "cheesy" slogan ever since I started this blog, now apparently a forum as well, has been 'don't hate, educate'. The purpose of this blog has always been to explain the struggle of being Frum and gay, and maybe help others see that life isn't always so black and white.

It seems that I need to clarify that this blog, while here to discuss topics and situations that have too often been ignored, is still MY blog. I have the right to answer whatever questions I feel like I want to answer, and I have the right to keep private certain things that I feel should be kept private. I have never shied away from a topic bc it may have been too controversial- but I confront every topic that I feel I want to blog about. They may not answer all your questions, but they are what I feel needs to be discussed.

Next, I have never and will never lied to my readers. There have been claims of question to my character and my 'happiness' but what you read here is true. I'm not happy golucky one hundred percent of the time in my personal life because no person is. I have moods and struggles and stressors every day- just like you. But since coming out two and a half years ago (wow!), my life has only gotten better, and I have only gotten happier and stronger as a person. And I wouldn't trade that in for anything.

I appreciate the readers, the followers, the commentators, and everything you all have to say, and I do try my best to answer your questions, but at the end of the day, the blog is mine to write and the content is mine to control, and my life is my own- to keep certain things personal, while trying to be open and honest with you all at the same time. So I hope I do you justice through it all.

And finally, how can a married homosexual with children call themselves Orthodox? Because who decides what the definition of Orthodoxy is? Who decides what it means to be Frum? Despite years of struggle and rejection I am still here, and I reserve the right to call myself Orthodox because I am Shomer Torah and Mitzvot, just like everyone else. Is there another added layer when gay- that I may or may not be sinning because I may or may not have the desire to go against a commandment that most of you do not have to deal with? Yes, there is the extra layer, which is why gay Orthodox Jews struggle. But that fact alone should not and does not exclude me from Orthodoxy.

This is what I ask all my readers, followers and commentators to keep in mind when reading, judging, and discussing my personal life and my choices as the author of this blog in your conversations below.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


So I'm not letting "a friend" deter me. Because this is gonna be a pretty intense post. Short, but intense.

Does being gay mean one is sinning? I think I posted this way back in the early days of the blog, but it warrants reminding to the general population. Something that many Rabbis and people who judge in general, such as "a friend" in the last post's comments, assume that being gay means one is there violating a prohibition of the Bible. The most commonly accepted interpretation in Modern Orthodoxy of the verse against homosexuality, is that the Biblical prohibition is towards anal sex only. Does coming out inherently mean that one is having anal sex? No, no it does not.

People are too quick to put the two together, when, indeed, they are very different things. Maybe a religious guy is out but isn't having anal sex b/c he cant find anyone to do it with him, or maybe he isn't having it because of his religious beliefs, or maybe he is having it! But that's not for anyone to know about, or for anyone to make assumptions about. It's certainly not something for anyone to share on a public blogger forum. Just because someone is out of the closet, or just because someone is gay- does not mean they are violating that prohibition. They may not even like it, to be honest, because everyone enjoys different things in bed- this applies to heterosexuals as well.

So like I said, short, but a reminder that we should not assume anything about anyone's private bedroom behaviors. Gay or straight, in the closet or out, and this applies to me as much as it does to "a friend".

Monday, February 7, 2011

One Other Thing

In a recent interview, found HERE, I was asked two very difficult questions - one is in the last post, and the other in this post. Shout out to the awesome YU Beacon and my interviewer for letting me share this.

The YU Beacon asked me for one piece of advice to give to gay Orthodox teens. At first I was very overwhelemed, like the last question- there were so many options to answer- that it would get better, that no matter what happens I would find my way, that who I was was okay. So the way I answered this question was by looking back. If there was one thing I would have wanted to be told in high school, what would it have been?

I answered the following:
Not to let others dictate who they are or how they should feel. Regardless of communal pressure, familial pressures, and all the stresses in the world, every single person is an individual, and has the right to be who they are. Because in ten years, the same people making fun of them now will either have grown up enough to understand or not be in their lives any longer, so what they say really can’t define who a person is.

There's really not much to explain about this one. I realized the number one issue in high school, for myself and so many others- not just those struggling with being gay- is peer pressure. Not drugs or drinking, but peer pressure to fit in to society's molds, peer pressure to "belong" or be "normal", like everyone else seems to be. If someone had told me in high school that it was okay to be different, I may not have believed them- but I still would've liked to hear it. To know that the cool kids and the jocks and the nerds- that none of those labels would matter in just a few years, because when we grow up we realize that we are who we are, regardless of what boxes others try to place us in. We find our circles, we find our friends who loves us for who we are- we're not forced into a confined world where we are subscribed to "roles" and "expectations" from everyone around us. We know that if our friends do that, they're not our friends- and at 23 years old, or even 18 years old, it gets much easier to go out and find those who will love us without wanting to change us.

So that's my advice to anyone struggling in the world. Be who you are, and don't let anyone else change you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Thing

In a recent interview that can be found HERE, I was asked two very difficult questions that I will go into this post and the next post. Shout out to the awesome YU Beacon and my interviewer for letting me share this.

I was asked if there was one thing I could tell the Orthodox community, for all to know, what would it be. Coming to the answer to this question took some time. There is so much I want the Orthodox community to know- that I want to have a “normal” life like the rest of them, that just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m any different from them, that I plan on living an Orthodox lifestyle to the best of my ability, that being gay was not planned, expected, or asked for- but none of these were really just one thing for me to tell the community, so here’s what I went with:

"That being gay is not a choice. It’s not something I ever wished for, and not something I strive to push on anyone who is uncomfortable with it."

I did not choose to be gay or ask for it or beg for my life to be more difficult. I wished and cried for the opposite. I simply tried to live a “normal” modern Orthodox life, like all my friends, but found myself attracted to the same sex instead of the opposite. After too much pain and struggle, I realized that just because I was gay, I was not going to allow that to stop me from living the “normal” modern Orthodox life; I just hope to do it with a man instead of a woman. Being gay, for almost all individuals struggling is not a choice- if it were, why would we choose the other path? Why would we want to go against the Torah? Why would we beg and plead for communities to accept us for who we are?

This is something the Orthodox community needs to recognize, because too often people are cast aside or hurt and not accepted. Why? Because it's viewed as something that is more or less in our control, and it's not. Just like a heterosexual's attraction towards women is not in their control, so too for the homosexual, the attraction is not in their control. For all these reasons I had to use this one thing to tell the Orthodox community- being gay is almost always not a choice. Just some food for thought.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews