An old friend of mine recently came out of the closet to me (he gave me permission to write about him without revealing who he is) and as anyone would be, I was completely shocked, I was also super pumped because now I can say I have gay friends – whenever something that could be considered “anti-gay” slips out of my mouth. I also have one black friend, so all I need now are some Asians and Indians.
So anyway my friend is slowly coming out of the closet after being gay his whole life, in the frum community might I add. Luckily I was hanging out with him and we got to talking about it, I should mention that I was completely shocked because he is all man, there is no feminine thing about this guy – he is hairy, wears wife beaters, works on cars and other construction projects, drives a truck and owns quite a few guns, he drinks beer and grunts like the men – if it were one of my other more metrosexual friends I wouldn’t have been so shocked.
He told me that like most gay men he went through different stages, he grew up frum and went to yeshiva and lived in the dorm. He compared living in a dorm to a guy like me given full access to a girls high school dorm with the power of invisibility. He could wander the dorm at night with guys running around in boxers, bathrobes and guys coming out of the shower – he said it was heaven and hell combined. His own private nightmare – he told me that he had to refrain from staring at guys in their underwear and to keep his dignity in check even though it was insanely hard no pun intended.
He is in his upper 20s and he recently decided to start coming out – I wondered why he was coming out, if he realized what would happen to him in a frum community. He realizes everything but after hanging out with him and other friends who didn’t yet know that he was gay, I realized what a pain it was to be in the closet. Every time we pass by girls, see something sexual, whatever, we make a comment, and he makes one too – its so fake yet I feel for him – for the last 20 years he has been living a lie and it sucks – so I finally understand why people come out of the closet.
He is also having existential angst issues, like anyone who grew up frum who knew the horrible sin of homosexuality – for the record he has never done anything with a guy or a girl in that department – I can’t understand how he likes men – but he is attracted to them and thats how he was created. But when you grow up frum you cannot deny the ramifications of being gay.
He says it like this, everyone can marry besides for him, he was given everything in working condition yet told not to use it – that sucks and I have no response. I know that many ignorant frum people will say its a taiva and you should control it, but to stay away from falling in love and having a partner your whole life is a bit extreme.
So he is planning on coming out to his siblings and parents and friends sooner or later. I warned him that even though he has been friends with some folks for 25 years, they probably wont take it so well. There is still a big stigma attached to it and although I was curious about his journey and felt really cool that I was one of the first people he told – I am fearing for the aftermath of his coming out of the closet.