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.