Saturday, December 17, 2011

There's something wrong

There's something wrong when 85 men are undergoing a sexual abuse scandal in Brooklyn's Orthodox community, but "24 have walked free. They got probation, pleaded to minor charges, or saw their cases dismissed — often because victims or their parents backed out under community pressure. Agudath Israel of America, a prominent body of Torah sages, requires anyone alleging sex abuse by a fellow observant Jew to first report to its rabbis, who decide whether the case should go to secular authorities."

But yet, men trying to understand their sexuality in college suddenly can't control themselves and a pornography filter needs to be instituted for these university students. I wonder how many of the 85 above had filters growing up? Probably all. (editors note: I realize this is a harsh generalization and overall inappropriate statement, but my point is how can you expect people to know what to do with their sexuality or appropriate outlets when you censor them from anything remotely erotic?)

There's something wrong when one minor literary piece about heterosexual sex in a private university publication gets national media attention.

There's something wrong when all this is going on, and a Rabbi trying to perform a civil union in Orthodox tradition sparks THREE different groups of Rabbi's to feel the need to sign "letters", "statements", and "petitions".

There's something wrong.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

News & Community Updates

Orthodox Ordained Rabbi, who is gay, performs Orthodox ceremony for two men:

Rabbi’s respond this past week:

-As my readers know, I do not believe that Orthodoxy can have a gay marriage. There are no Halachic guidelines for it set by the Rabbis who codified Jewish law so many years ago. That being said, I respect R’ Greenberg and his right to perform a gay marriage in Orthodox tradition. I am frustrated that these 100 Rabbis felt the need to sign a document saying that the marriage was not Orthodox. Anyone within the community has the right to choose for themselves how they feel about the union and ceremony. A signed article won’t change the mind of those that perceive this wedding as Orthodox.
Rabbi’s attempt to denounce homosexuality in the Orthodox community, saying the only option is for Teshuva and change. No mental health sources were cited, only biblical.

Orthodox mental health conference, JQ Youth represented, JONAH declines invitation:

JONAH director Arthur Goldberg acknowledges therapy conducted (without license) asking patients to take their clothes off.
- I am proud that JQ Youth, an organization I am very involved with (link has been in the sidebar for about a year), had representatives of being Orthodox and gay at this conference. Although for technical reasons it wasn’t the organization that was represented, it’s important that the community was represented.

- I have written many times about reparative therapy. I respect and admire individuals who choose to go through this process of changing their sexuality. I also respect some of the therapy and the process, which can have some positive effects. However, I do not respect “naked” therapy. I do not respect working on such an important issue with a “life coach” (non-licensed therapist). I think this can be very damaging. And while I acknowledge that sexuality is fluid and the possibility of a shift from those with a tendency of homosexuality to a tendency of heterosexuality, I know that for most individuals (like myself) who have strong homosexual feelings, the shift is not possible, and can cause severe mental health problems as numerous studies have reported. 

In 2009, the American Psychological Association (APA) urged therapists not to support reparative therapy, or, more specifically, not claim that when a person comes to them that their sexuality can and will be changed. I found this quote particularly important- “The religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality.”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hide and Seek

It's that time again- where Ely posts rants and angry blog posts that stir up a lot of people and cause trouble, because I'm actually speaking from my heart. Well it's been a while since I've done that, so here goes again.

Rant One- Being fake. I can't stand being fake, but I am. And all my friends are, and I feel like most of my community is, and there are only a few people who I trust to not be that way. Most of us lie, we hide things, we're not honest about our true selves because we're scared of what other people will think of us. Everyone tiptoes around each other and pretends to be happy just to avoid the judgment of their so called "friends".  Well let me tell you something, if they judge you, they're not your real friends. If they look down on you for one behavior or another, they're not your real friends. And I find this in every corner of my community. People pretending to be something they're not just to please others. I thought when I came out of the closet that my biggest secret was out there, and I would never have to hide anymore. But that's not true. I hide things on a daily basis, and it sucks.

Rant Two- Assumptions. I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Everyone loves making assumptions about each other. This boy and this girl have been seen together twice and therefore they must be a couple. This gay guy is really good friends with this straight person, and therefore, the straight person must actually be gay. Well, it's not always that simple. So however much society likes to group people or box things into neat little packages in order to better understand them, they're usually and most often WRONG. They hurt people by making accusations, they spread rumors and gossip and it only makes people suffer.

So I guess these two connect. In an ideal world- Everyone would stop being fake. If people are finally able to show their true selves, and speak out about who they are, maybe some of the judgments will stop.  If we no longer lie, and hide, to accept others for who they are, then others will stop having to label and assume things which are wrong.  But this world is not ideal, and the Orthodox Jewish community is certainly not. So I suggest, try and be yourselves, try and find a community and friends where you feel the absolute most comfortable to be yourself. And stop trying to label others, stop assuming what's going on in someone else's life and realize that if people want you to know something, hopefully they'll tell you. But if they don't, it is NOT your place to judge.

It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews