Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Here's the problem. The problem is many religious communities insist on being "amidst" others, to be "a light unto the nations" (a very Jewish concept) and exemplify Jewish way of life as the most befitting in God's eyes. Somewhere along the way, however, this was lost. Somewhere along the way, people decided not just to be a light for others, but to protest, to denounce and to look down upon others for simply being different.

Nowhere in the Torah does it say to look down on others. Does it say to watch over and protect other members of their own nation? Yes. Do many Jews feel the obligation to scold and scorn members of their own communities for wrongdoings? Yes. But the problem is that too many individuals and communities took it upon themselves to be the judge of others and to decide what is best for the rest of the world as well. We have Jews who protest their own Jewish companies because the companies support building a homeland in Israel. We have Jews who say that an innocent sweet boy was murdered because communities didn't protest gay marriage or because Jews let a convicted child molester from their own community go to jail, they are being punished by losing an innocent child. But forget about issues pertaining to their own communities, we have Jews who run out and protest civil gay marriage, when that's not their right, nor does it impact the way they practice their religion.

To me, this does not exemplify any aspect of Judaism or human decency. What ever happened to live and let live? I understand wanting one's own little bubble to be perfect, but individuals who violate one or two standards of "norm", established hundreds or thousands of years ago, should not be criticized as too often happens. In addition, when other people make decisions for their own lives, more religious communities simply have no right to protest or scorn or scold. It is simply a matter of human decency to let someone go about their life as they choose, and not protest it, especially when it doesn't directly impact them.

I know this post comes off as harsh, or as attacking, but it is simply meant to establish the way I feel about respect and equal rights for every person in this country and in this world - without judgment by "others".

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Role Reversal

I've been thinking lately- gay and Frum, Frum and gay, my perspective has always been about the problems I have with Orthodoxy and how to be more accepted in my communities and all that. But I recently came to realize that there is a whole other perspective to take into account. The gay community needs to have room for Orthodoxy!

Too often, friends and I are uncomfortable wearing our Yarmulkas and other religious articles in public, because we're scared of being pigeonholed into the negative views that so many people have of Orthodox Jews. This shouldn't be so. The LGBT community is one of acceptance, love and tolerance for all- including various religious beliefs- so why should I feel uncomfortable in my yarmulka? I too often feel that if I walk into a gay bar with a head covering, people will look at me differently or be scared to approach me because I don't fit the LGBT stereotype- I defy it by imposing religion into that community. However, I feel strongly that the two need to go hand in hand and for that reason I do not take off my Yarmulka.

My point is simple. I feel that my religious beliefs should not exclude me from being part of any LGBT community, the same way I feel that sexuality should never exclude me from a religious community. People judging is part of this 21st century life we lead- but we need to make sure other's judgments aren't something we let bother us or we let control our actions and behaviors. As much as I want to be openly gay in my religious communities, I want to be openly religious in my gay communities.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I want to share an aspect of understanding my sexuality that was probably one of the last things I ever really had a grasp on: attraction. For years, throughout elementary school and high school, I thought every girl I met was special. Every time I built a relationship with a girl, I inevitably crushed on them within a few months, and some I even dated. But what were those feelings?

After understanding that I was gay, I realized that these relationships I had built were normal friendships. When a girl got me giddy and I was all excited to hang out with them- they were good friends. I always thought I had an attraction to men and women, the attraction to women was normal and to men was weird, raw, emotional, clearly messed up and therefore needed to be fixed. But when I finally accepted who I was, for myself, I realized that the raw, emotional attraction I had towards men, that I thought was unhealthy and bad- was what heterosexual men feel towards women. And the fun, light, and chill attraction I had towards women was actually friendship, and what heterosexual men felt towards each other.

For so many years I wanted so badly to be straight that I never understood my own emotions- I thought women were "normal" and my feelings towards men were "unhealthy". Many would argue that my feelings still are that way, but from my own personal experience I can tell you- for me, my feelings towards men are the ones that feel real and strong. The ones towards women, as much as I love my best friends, are not nearly as beautiful and emotional for me.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews