Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ain't life funny?

Something that always bothered me about homosexuality- whether in high school, when I was in the closet or when I came out 2 and a half years ago- is how funny it is. Let me explain. In most institutions that I went to, Jewish High School and college, being gay was funny. Being gay is funny. It's hilarious. For many straight men, and I can't speak for women because I don't know, being gay is hilarious- it's cool to inappropriately touch other men, it's funny to walk around holding another guy's hand or speaking with a lisp.

But I want to explain something- being gay is not funny. In fact, every time something like that happened in high school or any other time while I was in the closet, it made me uncomfortable. It made me hurt, because they were laughing not because being gay was an enjoyable pastime, but because it was a joke. But for me it wasn't a joke, for me it was reality. And when I was in the closet and someone would do something stereotypically gay to make fun of "the gays", it hurt me because they were making fun of me.

Now that I'm out of the closet it doesn't hurt, because I'm happy with who I am and if you want to make fun of me that's your choice. All the more so, I know that when someone makes fun of someone else they're usually doing it because of insecurities within themselves, especially the older someone gets, because a person should be free to live as they choose, and others should never be judging them. But anyway, what doesn't hurt when I see making fun, is that to this day, I know that there are people still in the closet suffering in silence like I did for so many years, who are still hurt when people or "friends" run around, pretending to be gay, making funny jokes about being gay. Because when people make fun of someone else, they're essentially putting them beneath themselves, like gay people are less than them, and their feelings don't matter. And that's just not true.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


(note: apology for the blog lag this month, finals in school)
Agree to disagree, love to hate, hate to love, sick and tired of being tired and sick, there are so many contradictions in this world, how can we ever just get along? Well, we can. I've had the pleasure of discussions and conversations with people that I may never agree with. But you know what? That doesn't mean I don't respect their choices. I respect you if your opinion differs from mine, I respect you if you don't "approve" of my lifestyle, but I don't respect you if you talk down to me as if you are any better than me, because we all have our flaws, and homosexuality is not a flaw.

I preach tolerance, I preach open-mindedness and I preach discussion. I preach respect, honesty, and conviction. I implore all my readers to question everything and never believe without knowing why you believe. I respect people different from me and communities and cultures that are different from my own. However, there is something I don't respect- people who don't respect each other. Communities that don't provide equal rights to their members because of sex, age, orientation or any variety of other factors. People should never be told or commanded to to act by others around them without being able to make decisions and decide for themselves what they'd like to do. It's one thing for a community to have laws and rules, it's another to post signs in public that tell people how to behave. It's not Jewish law, it's not legal law, it's a communal restriction that can make many feel oppressed and uncomfortable. In addition, who is it that puts up these signs or makes these laws? Who has the power to control what others can and cannot do?

I choose to live in America, and therefore to follow American law. I choose to be an Orthodox Jew, and therefore follow Orthodox law. There are societies and communities worldwide, however, that do not have such freedom and such choices. I'm thankful to be in such an open country, and concerned for the communities that in a free world, choose to be oppressive to members of their own society. I am intolerant of intolerance.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Legal Matters

A question that I wanted to address is one that I've thought about for a while, but never realized some of you guys were thinking about it too. The question is- I preach open conversation about sexuality, acceptance and open-mindedness, but how can I then say that homosexual acts are wrong? Isn't it inevitable that more discussion and openness will lead to more people questioning and experimenting?

The answer is I don't know. I don't control how other people interpret openness and tolerance. I know that the more I open up to my friends and people in my life about sexuality, the more they feel comfortable talking about it. In no way do I control whether or not others will experiment or question their sexual attractions. All I hope with my posts is for people to entertain the thought that a same sex relationship may not be "disgusting" and that just because we may not have grown up dealing with a specific issue, doesn't mean we have to keep ignoring the issue as adults.
It also seems the more openly I discuss sexuality, the more closeted people come to me for sex or experimentation- but that's not my intention. Being open about sexuality and sexual matters does not mean one needs to go and act on every impulse or desire, it simply means that one can and should entertain the thought- but then let their moral or Torah conscience be their guide.

Honestly, my hope is as follows- if you start talking about sexuality and questioning, and you're a religious person, you will be in enough awe of the Torah and of Halakha (Jewish law) not to experiment just because you feel like it. You should be comfortable enough to entertain the thought of sexual tolerance and understanding, but that doesn't mean you have to go out and do everything you feel. That's part of living in a Halakhic society, self control and limitations. If you feel that your attraction is stronger to one sex as opposed to the other, or you feel that you sexual identity expresses itself in a very specific way, that's yours to confront and your decision how that will impact your life as an observant Jew.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Deal With It

Hey everyone- so it's been about a year and a half since I've started the blog, and I know there is something that I want to share with you all. I wanted to talk about how I've changed over the past year plus. The blog started with me saying that I'm here to discuss the struggle of being gay and religious. I was out of the closet for a year when I started the blog, so changes within me have to do not with coming out. but just my development as an adult and person.

The original header of the blog was "I'm not here to say I'm here, I'm queer, deal with it, but to say that I'm Frum and I'm gay and I'm trying to do the best I can with that. (or something to that extent)" Now, if you'll notice, the header reads: "I am a religious Jew, and I am gay, and I'm trying to do the best I can with those two seemingly conflicting identities." Why the change? Becuase I changed. Because I realized that what I do say to the world is that "I'm here, I'm queer, deal with it." And not just say that to the world, but say that to the Orthodox community. Deal with it. Deal with my presence. Deal with homosexuality.

Since figuring out so many different aspects of my life- like friends, family, relationships, future career and all- my growth as a person went from confused, young and scared shitless, to proud, strong and confident. Whether it's the amount of support I received via the blog, my friends and the people close to me, I really developed a sense of pride in who I am and the things I believe in. I think at a certain point in a person's life, they just start thinking- what do I need, what's good for me? While that may sound selfish, I think it's how we all develop ourselves and become the people we want to become, and that's just how I did it. I surrounded myself with people who supported me, I sought paths of growth, development and understanding instead of just standing still and forcing myself to accept everything at face value. I came to realize that what I want to say to the world is, I'm here, I'm queer, deal with it.

The blog now continues as I experience how the world and community responds to myself or someone like me, someone who challenges certain beliefs that they may have grown up with, and suggests new options they may never have considered. Someone who is Orthodox but also gay, and is not willing to give either of those up. Someone who is telling you to deal with it.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews