Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Come out, religious homosexuals

Ultra-Orthodox gays should display courage, march in Jerusalem pride parade

You're out there. Some of you live in a state of constant denial, possibly even with a family and children. Others move between the shadows, scared to tell. You know well that those who do tell are thrown out of the shtetl's safe confines. You constantly feel deep shame because of what you view as impure, dark urges that must be suppressed with all force. Yet it only becomes harder.


Nobody will explain to you that homosexuals can be found in every society since the dawn of history. That it is a phenomenon shared by both humans and animals. That it is simply part of nature, just like some of us are light-skinned and others are dark-skinned, or tall or short. Some people are attracted to members of their own gender. This is simply how it is, and twenty tons of self-hatred won't help here.


It is so difficult to act against the intimidating social steamroller that forbids even talking about this. The fear and shame smother any chance of coming out of the closet. Where is there a serious, brave rabbi who will declare to you and to his community that God loves everybody?


That God doesn't care about your sexual orientation, as long as you are honest, good, and decent people? Or that those who think that people go to hell because of their sexual preferences, or that people with a different sexual orientation "taint" Jerusalem with their mere present – such people need to be reeducated, not you? I'm still waiting to hear the words of this great rabbi. I'm certain you too are waiting.


Let love be

Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to fury, and fury results in violence. Don't go to those dark places. The percentage of gays and lesbians in the ultra-orthodox community is identical to that of any other society; this is simply a matter of statistics.


Yet the figures are crushed and silenced by a society that forced upon itself an archaic family structure in order to boost the domination over its members lest they be tempted by the outside world. A homosexual orientation has therefore been shunned for threatening the wholeness of this community.


This is why the ultra-Orthodox compare homosexuality to incest, even though there's no connection between the love shared by two people of the same sex and the bastard who sleeps with his daughter. Yet the Orthodox want homosexuality to be identified as a crime, a crime against God and society. And you know what should be done to criminals, right?


I don't know if you'll read these words. But I have a request: Next weekend, if the minister of internal security has guts, a gay pride parade will take place in Jerusalem, the capital of all of us. This parade has become a symbol this year, a symbol of courage and freedom in the face of oppression and the trampling over human rights.


Come out, but be on the right side. Come out and march with people like you, who believe that everyone is allowed to do whatever one wishes in private, as long as one does not hurt others.


That everyone is allowed to face one's family and proudly declare one's sexual orientation – and still enjoy recognition and love like everyone else. That everyone is allowed to love and not live in fear and hide throughout life. That everyone is God's child; secular and religious, and gays and lesbians too.


פרסום ראשון: 10.31.06, 15:07
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