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Op-Ed: God Created Me Gay

An articulate, poignant and beautiful letter written by a gay religious teen to MK's from Jewish Home, a right-wing Israeli political party that has been under fire from the LGBT community

By: Dan (intro by Daniel Koren)
Published: December 20th, 2013 in News » Israel
Solidarity: Israeli and LGBT flags

The following is a letter written to members of the Knesset; particularly, members of Jewish Home, which has been facing rapid scrutiny from Israel's LGBT community for opposing certain bills that would give them more rights and benefits, including killing a bill that would grant same-sex male couples with the opportunity to use surrogate mothers.

Several campaigns have arisen in Israel - where a recent poll suggests 70% percent of its population supports gay marriage - to draw attention to this issue, including an online campaign that has seen people using this photo as their profile on facebook as an act of solidarity, and also, several rallies that have taken place across Tel Aviv.

None of these campaigns, however, can be presented as articulately, well-written, or as painfully candid as this letter written by a religious teen that goes only by Dan. Dan is gay, and is currently enrolled in a Yeshiva; read his letter below:


Dear Habayit Hayehudi ministers,

In a different, perhaps "better," reality I could have disclosed my identity to you. I could have presented myself without hiding, describe my life and who I am. But unfortunately, I can't. If I muster the courage and do it, it will have a huge effect on my life. Possibly for the better, but most chances are against that, and I am not the type to take risks.

Hello. I am a religious youth, the son of a completely normal national-religious family, an 11th grader in a completely normal yeshiva high school, and among other things, I am also what many in the sector refer to as "having inverted tendencies" – and what I prefer to call "gay." This word is not a simple one in our reality, in a situation in which many are not afraid to use it as a curse, in a negative connotation, with the intention of hurting and destroying. Even to me it sounds like a swearword.

And yet, that's how I define myself. When people hear about teenagers like me, they say it's because "he wants to be different," "because it's trendy to be different" and "will help the image of the depressed adolescent who is angry at the world." Others think that teenagers like me are actually making it all up, and are not really attracted to boys. And there are those who believe it's a psychological problem which will be solved through therapy.

To them I would like to say: I don't enjoy living a lie, hiding the truth about myself from the people I love, wondering whether my friends would like me if they knew. I didn't enjoy the time when I couldn't accept myself, when I hated myself and renounced myself. I told myself it would pass, that it's just fantasies, that I'm better than that. I spent half of my adolescence alone, depressed, with suicidal tendencies and other experiences I would rather forget.

Your objection symbolizes something bigger

So you've probably already understood why I'm appealing to you, but you may not understand what I want from you, after the bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has already passed in the Knesset – in spite of your objection. But that's exactly the point: You are a party which aspires to represent the religious sector, which I am part of, and therefore your objection actually symbolizes something bigger.

You didn’t oppose the law on same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, or economic equality for same-sex couples, but only the ban on discrimination, no less. In my humble opinion, the Torah isn't fond of discrimination either, and so I am trying to understand exactly what your motive was to vote against it.

Is it because you're a religious party, and religious and LGBT don't go together? I'm sure I'm not telling you something new about not being the only religious gay person in the world, and in our sector there are many, some who really endure the challenge imposed on them by God, and want to continue observing the mitzvot of Judaism; others choose to become secular, flee the religious sector, and as always – there are those who try to combine, to live as a religious-gay couple.

But even those who meet every religious ideal are still treated disgracefully. They can't come out of the closet, even though it eases the coping. Why is that? Why do they deserve this attitude? Why don't they deserve to come out of the closet and be confident that discriminating against them will be forbidden, because there is a law against it? And the rest – how do they differ from Shabbat desecraters under Orthodox religious laws? Will you propose a bill allowing discrimination against Shabbat desecraters in the future?

Continue reading on Page 2

Related articles: LGBT, Op-Ed, Equal Rights, Gay, Israel LGBT, Homosexuality
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