Wednesday, 14 August 2013

C TALKS: An interview with the daughter of a Frum Gay Person (FGP)

What’s it like, being the daughter of a FGP?

Many times, interviews are with the adults who are affected by being both gay and orthodox, and yet there is a significant population of children whose parents or siblings are FGPs. For the first time, we'd like to take a look at that experience from the inside. Today, we'll be interviewing C, a girl who attends a chassidic day school in the United States, and whose mother is a FGP.
If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you right now?
C: 13
How do you identify yourself religiously?
C: Orthodox
What is the school that you go to like? Did you go to a different school before this one, and how did they feel about your mother being gay?
C: I’ve always gone to this school. It’s a very good school if you fit into their mold of who they want you to be, but if you don’t, then they try to make you fit. It is a very frum Chassidic school that focuses on raising girls to be wonderful wives. My school pretends my mother doesn’t exist and that there’s no such thing as gay. If I want to have friends over, they make up an excuse, like, “Oh, I can’t do it today.” But that’s every day.
Do the kids at this school give you a hard time for having a gay mother?
C: The kids don’t give me a hard time at all. In fact, when we are in a private space and we are talking about the things that the community doesn’t want us to know, and we talk about my Mum being gay, they are completely supportive about it. But that’s in private. In class, they don’t talk about it, but I wouldn’t bring it up either, because it’s not what you say. Once, in Chumash, there was a word for being gay, and my teacher got really confused and embarrassed when she tried to explain what it means. My teacher got very red, and she said, “That’s not what the Torah wants you to think about” and then she skipped to the next subject.
Do your friends know that your mother is gay? What do they think about it? Is it awkward for you and how so?
C: It’s awkward because it’s like having an elephant in the room all the time, and whenever we have a shabbos get-together, and they ask which house we should go to, they make excuses about why they can’t come to my house. If my mother wasn’t gay, we would always have friends over at the house and there would be events at our house and also, I would have more friends. It would be much easier and less isolated for me.
                                       (editor's note: No gay person would ever have red couches with pink carpeting)
What’s the best thing about having a frum gay mother?
C: I am opened up to so many things like human rights issues, or deciding on things for myself and not going with the crowd. I often know a lot more about the world than my classmates, and I am much more tolerant of people than they are. I also really love having a big chosen family (Shabbos, Yontiff, of FGPs) because everyone is so fun and they all come over for Shabbos and Yomtov and they are very loving and joking. I get to know a lot about what a real relationship looks like, because most of the FGPs have very solid, kind and respectful, loving relationships, and that’s a big plus to have that kind of role model.
What’s the hardest thing about having a frum gay mother?
C: Sometimes I am confused about what is right and what is wrong, because at school there seems to be a very black and white right and wrong and punishments for every little thing, but at home, we try to think about how to treat people, and what Rabbi Akiva meant by loving everyone, at the same time as doing what the Torah says.
If you could change one thing about the way the Orthodox community treats your family, what would it be?
C: I wish they were more open-minded, and thought about being considerate to people as part of the religion.
What is your greatest fear?
C: I’m afraid that I will be ordinary.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

C: Having friends that accept every part of me, having someone who loves me and dancing every day!
Wow, C. That sounds like something we can all aspire to!
 May I ask who your hero/ heroine is?

C: My therapist!
What do you hate the most?
C: Being told to do things when I’m not ready to do them.
What would you like the frum community to do for you?
C: I would like the frum community to be open to the idea that there is more than one kind of frum family and more than one way to be frum and that they won’t be hurt by that acceptance.

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