Homosexuality and orthodoxy is not so simple, I know there is an ongoing article between several folks on the interview with an orthodox Lesbian post from the summer. I can understand both sides, Homosexuality is one of the worst sins possible, according to most it is classified as deviant behavior and many folks simply think of it as a disease – which I find kind of funny because these are the same folks who say that gay people are the types that have tried everything under the sun and now they must explore more to fulfill their desires.
Yeshiva University held a symposium on being gay in the orthodox community last week and it drew quite a large crowd.There are quite a few articles about the event on the web – I picked some of them that I found worth reading.
The Curious Jew transcribed the event and Rabbi Gil Student makes a very good point about those people who attended the event, in his post about the growing problems of post-orthodoxy. Harry Maryles also talks about the YU Gay event. The Jewish Star had a great piece about the event this past week as well. Read the YU Commentator artcle as well.
But being gay and orthodox isn’t so simple, it’s not just another thing like keeping kosher, or not telling loshon horah, it’s a sin that doesn’t hurt anyone and it really hurts not to have love in your life. Telling someone they cannot get married or find true love is really tough. Imagine you were in their shoes, and you knew that in order to get married or raise a family you would be in violation of the religion you so strongly believe in. It’s really not so simple as just saying “screw you fags keep it in your pants.”
Then of course you have the issue of trying to deal with a public sinner, unlike other sins that are done in private, relationships are usually public, people are going find out if you chose to do these things in secret and who on earth wants to have a secret relationship – gay pride is not about a bunch of flamboyant queens running around in pink thongs (at least not in my mind) it’s about celebrating the ability to love freely, without being locked in a closet of lies to family, friends and the world.
The real complexities of being gay and orthodox in my mind, is trying to figure out what to do about it without lessening the torah values. Saying things like “you can be gay, but you cannot act on it” have no value in my mind, they are ignorant, like telling older singles to be shomer negiah forever – it just won’t work. But, does having symposiums like this hurt orthodoxy? Does it bring us all down a notch because it seems people are trying to change the torah view on such things and it really cannot be changed. Although someone in Berkeley told me that they had attended a shul in which during hagbah they realized the pasukim for sodom and gemorah were blacked out in the actual scroll.
So I am torn, I am one of those who want live and let live, yet I don’t want people changing the torah and that is what I feel is possible. I feel that it is only time until someone comes along and decides to remove certain phrases, or reword certian parts of the torah and some day they may be orthodox. On the other hand, I don’t think that gays and lesbians should be treated any differently then heterosexuals, that includes marriage and having families filled with wonderful children.