Sunday, December 25, 2011


I hate labels. I've been on a personal journey for a few years now- learning not to be judgmental. Conditioning myself not to judge others' words or actions, to try and understand where they're coming from instead of instinctively condemning them.

My most recent advance in learning how not to judge is to try and get rid of as many labels as I can. I know that many people think labels are necessary in order to function in society. I personally don't. I think people should just be able to be

I was talking to a friend of mine today about the Orthodox community and the labels we use to classify people. "Religious." "Not religious." Most of the time, in my experience, I've noticed that those labels revolve around four observances: Shabbos, Kashrut, Appearance (Skirts for girls, Kippahs for boys), and Shomer Negiah. I've noticed, and it has increasingly made me angry, that the people in the Orthodox community judge someone as "religious" or "not religious" based on whether they keep all, or one, or two, or three of these observances. 

No one has the right to judge your level of religiosity. Especially not based on just four categories. Or five, or six, or seven. Don't let anyone dictate to you what your relationship with God is, because your relationship with God is exactly that- your relationship with God.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's not funny.

The other day I stumbled across this at work:

This was in response to a comment that said, "This is not at all funny. Bullying is not something to joke about." "This" was a post on that said, "It's ironic that Glee is doing an episode on teen bullying since the reason I bully you is because you watch Glee."

Last year, America was rocked by LGBT suicides at the beginning of the year- Tyler Clementi, Justin Aaberg, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown. As someone who was just beginning to come to terms with my sexuality, these suicides hit me hard. This past September, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide because he was being bullied at school for his sexual orientation. My world was shattered. So many people had done so much to try to prevent suicides throughout the past year, I thought- why won't it stop? Why can't we give our children enough hope?

When I saw the above response about bullying, I was stunned. Of course I knew that there are people out there who don't care about the problem of bullying. But was I consciously aware of people who promote bullying and think it's a positive experience in life? Did I know there are people out there who think and publicly (if anonymously) say, that if someone commits suicide, it's a good thing? No, I was not aware. No, I did not know.

I don't know who this commenter is. I don't know where they grew up, who their parents are, what their life is like. But after the shock that came with seeing what they wrote , after the anger that emerged when I realized how unfeeling this person must be, after the sadness that I felt at knowing that there are many others like this in the world- after all that, came pity. For various reasons- because this person was bullied throughout their life, because this person thinks that bullying is the only way to raise a child to live in this world, because this person thinks that being strong is only a result of being bullied.

Bullying is not the answer- not for parents, not for peers, not for teachers. Not for anyone. Especially not for its victims. Bullying leads to depression and suicide- not just for LGBT youth, but for any human being. So be careful the next time you open your mouth to say a disparaging remark to someone- from “Four-eyes” or “Fag,” to “Dork” or “Dyke."

National Suicide Prevention Hotline- 1-800-273-TALK
The Trevor Project- 866-4-U-TREVOR
Depression Hotline- 1-630-482-9696

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Use your words

People who know me very well know that the things I value most in a relationship- any kind of relationship- are honesty and communication. This is a pretty recent development for me, since about a year ago. I learned that being in a difficult situation with a friend is only complicated further when there's a lack of communication between the two people. 
I've become a stickler for it. I'm blunt, I'm open, I'm honest. About mostly everything. If I think a friend is angry at me, I'll ask them about it. If I'm angry or upset at a friend, I'll talk to them about it. Whatever the situation is, I'd rather deal with it openly than play games, because playing games in the past has never been helpful.
There is, however, a catch to this outlook on life, and I've been figuring it out for the past few months. The catch is this: there is such a thing as being too honest. I've learned that once you start being honest, you lose most of your filter. And sometimes that filter is necessary, because you do need to take into consideration other people's feelings. 
This lesson hit home this past weekend, when I said something incredibly hurtful and inconsiderate to a friend on the Shabbos table. I apologized, of course, and the apology was accepted. The lesson was also learned: use your words, but use them carefully. They are the most powerful tool a human being has, and they can be used to do terrible things. So be open, be honest, confront things head-on, but also make use of that filter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mazel Tov!

A good friend of mine recently got engaged. It goes without saying that I'm very happy for her, and I wish her and her fiance a bright and loving future together.

But as usual when a friend gets engaged or married, I am plagued by emotions other than joy: sadness, jealousy, longing. I will never have that. That's not to say that I want a man to propose to me, nor do I want to marry a man. But, generally, every Jewish boy and girl in the Orthodox community is raised with the idea that when they grow up, they will get married and raise a nice Jewish family. I grew up with this concept ingrained in my mind, and I can say from personal experience that it's not easy to give up that dream.

Despite that, I do have another dream now. One that involves the same scenario in the future- a nice Jewish family. But by my side is another woman, not a man. Some would scoff- how could I possibly think that I could raise that same family with someone of the same gender? But I persist. I will make it possible. It may not be that same exact family, but I know that I do want to raise a family in the Orthodox Jewish community. 

Sometimes, I get caught up in Jewish heteronormativity, and the desire for a "normal" life gets to me. But this dream- finding the right woman, having children, building a home- makes me happy, and I can't wait to make it come true.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This year I'm thankful for...

As I was growing up, I had a difficult time socially. It wasn't easy for me to make friends. I was somewhat of an outcast- easily made fun of, left out of activities, and generally left feeling like an outsider. I grew up alongside people who made me feel like there was something inherently wrong with me. Who made me feel like it must be me who's all wrong, because no one wanted me or understood me. 
This was even before I ever realized that I'm gay. Thinking back, I always knew that there was something different about me. Being unaccepted gives you that feeling, but with an added negative twist.
It's different now. I'm different now. A few years into college I discovered that there are people in this world who accept me the way I am. I made friends- friends who wanted me, who made me feel accepted. Some of them even understood my struggle with my sexual orientation before I understood it.  
I've stopped believing that there is something wrong with me. I accept, of course, that I am different. Not only do I accept it, I embrace it. Because everyone is different. I just happened to grow up with people who did not understand that, who demanded conformity because they couldn't comprehend that being yourself is a good thing.
Sometimes, when I'm with my friends today, hanging out, watching a movie, eating dinner, talking and laughing at the Shabbos table- I pause. I stop everything I'm doing and just take stock. I think about the friends I have in my life, and I realize how grateful I am.
On Thanksgiving, my family doesn't go around the table and say out loud what we're all thankful for. So I'm doing it here. This year I'm thankful for my friends. My friends who love me and accept me the way I am, who want to know the real me and who help me keep my secret because they understand that I cannot yet show the real me to the world, who have taught me to explore who I am and love everything I find out about myself. This year, I am thankful for the people in my life who I can look at and say, "You are a friend."

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Last week, a good friend of mine (let's call her Rebecca) told me that a mutual friend of ours (let's call her Miriam) came up to her and told her that she'd overheard me talking, and now Miriam knows I'm gay. Miriam said that she knows who wrote the article in the Beacon, and it seemed as if she wanted confirmation from Rebecca that it was me. 

This bothered me on a few different levels. Firstly because Miriam is a friend of mine, and if she overheard something, I personally believe it would be a better approach to ask me about it as opposed to another friend. (The issue of whether or not you should ask someone if they're gay- which I firmly believe you shouldn't- is a whole other issue in and of itself.)

My second issues lies in this: what if Rebecca hadn't known? What if Rebecca was a friend I had not yet come out to? Then Miriam would have been outing me to someone else. I am in the closet for a reason, and telling someone else that I'm gay is hurtful, both to my feelings, as well as to my life and reputation.

Thirdly, on a general note (and I am speaking to everyone who is reading this), if you have confirmation that someone in your life is gay, but they have not yet told you, there is a reason for that. Maybe they aren't comfortable with who they are yet. Maybe they're not ready to be out to everyone. Maybe there are reasons like mine, which include concerns for my family. Whatever it is, you do not have the right to know. You do not have the right to ask, especially someone else. If you have suspicions, please keep it to yourself, because the results could range from asking someone to face something they're not ready to face, to ruining someone's life.

I did speak to Miriam and we managed to work things out. I stressed to her the importance of keeping my secret, and she was completely understanding and supportive. The lesson learned here on my part is that I need to realize that because of my need to stay in the closet for now, I do need to be more careful with what I say and where I say it. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"It's like disapproving of rain."

"It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain."

I ran across this quote, said by Francis Maude, a British politician, a little over a year ago. This was around the time I was starting to admit to myself that I like girls. I had been in denial for a very long time. Even as I was attempting to understand it with a friend I confided in, I was still in denial. I didn't understand myself, and a part of me didn't want to understand, didn't want to accept. I still wanted to be straight and live a straight life.

I'm not saying that I read this quote and suddenly, magically, everything was okay. But when I thought about a name for this blog, I thought about this quote and the reassurance it gave me. When I think of acceptance of myself, I think of this quote. I am who I am, I am what God created. Just like brown eyes or blue, red hair or black. Just like green grass and blue skies, and rain that falls from the clouds.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"God doesn't want you."

I wasn’t planning on writing about this today. But last week, when I was writing my first post, I happened to glance at the comments section on my first Beacon article. The feedback I’d gotten so far had been positive- the comments, the amount of likes, and personal responses from friends. And now, staring at me in the face, was the first negative response. “God doesn’t want you,” Veronica Glickman wrote. “Why do you insist on wanting him.”

I was stunned. I stared at the comment for a while and then forced myself to close the page, all the while absently thinking, Why was I so shocked? Wasn’t this what I was nervous about when I first decided to write the article? Wasn’t I expecting something like this?

Truth be told, I had been expecting it. At first. For a week or so after I wrote the article, I kept expecting the axe to fall. I kept expecting someone to say something, to attack what I’d written, because it had happened in the past to other brave writers who had come forward, so why wouldn’t it happen to me? But it didn’t.

Until last week. For the past few days, I’ve been continuously going back to the page and looking at the comment. Just looking, turning it over and over in my head, trying to figure it out, understand what it means, what the reader meant when she wrote it.

It mystified me. After five days of staring, I’m still mystified. Because how does Veronica Glickman know? How does she know that God doesn’t want me? So sure of what she believes, there is not an ounce of hesitation or doubt in her comment.

I used to have that. I used to have absolutely no doubts or questions (and funnily enough, it wasn’t my sexual orientation that brought about my questions). Now I find myself both jealous of this woman’s faith, but at the same time, I am also grateful that I no longer have that, because, in my experience at least, even though life is more confusing when you have questions, it’s also easier to find meaning, and truth, and beauty, when you have the presence of mind to search for it and ask it of the world that surrounds you. 

I don’t know Veronica. But if I did, I would tell her this- I do want God. Do I know whether or not he wants me? No, not really. Sometimes I believe He does, sometimes I wonder. But I don’t doubt that I am in this world for a reason. I was created for a reason, and I have a purpose in this world. That may not seem like very much, but for me, someone who lost all faith in everything for a while, that’s a lot.

And right now, it’s enough. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hello, everyone

I've been thinking of starting an anonymous blog for a while now. At first I thought it would be just one anonymous article on The Beacon, but then it turned out to be two. And yesterday, it became three. Once in a while, I think I'll continue writing for The Beacon, but I decided today that I'd like to have my own voice in the blogosphere. 

I am a female Orthodox Jew, and I am gay. There's not much more I can say about myself without giving away who I am. For reasons that I explained in my first article in The Beacon, and that I'll hopefully talk about at length here, I have to remain anonymous.

I’m going to keep this post short, simple, and to the point. The point being- why am I writing this blog? What am I trying to say or do?

The answer is a mixed bag. Yes, I am and will be making my voice heard here. I will, very often, be trying to make a point about something that catches my attention, and it won’t always necessarily be about homosexuality or Judaism. On the other hand, I won’t always be trying to make a statement. Sometimes I’ll just be writing out my thoughts, my feelings, my impressions- about anything and everything.

My plan is to blog every Sunday, so I hope to talk to you all in a few days :)