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Thursday, 22 August 2013

FRIEND OF FRUM GAYS #1



 Today, Frum Gay Girl is interviewing M, a young man who is openly supportive of his frum gay friends. Even though M seems, from the outside, to be "one of the boys", and though M doesn't speak about it in his interview, Frum Gay Girl knows that M has stood up for the rights of gay Jews on multiple occasions. M is a serious and genuine person, and he is concerned with how the orthodox community treats its own.

Hello M. Can you tell us something about yourself?
M: I’m a 22 year old guy and I grew up in the Midwest. When I get older I plan to be more observant than I am now. I went to private Jewish Day Schools my whole life. Growing up, we were religious. My parents were Chabad, and my brothers all went to a Yiddish cheder.

What do you most admire in a person?
M: Loyalty, straight-forwardness

How did you come to know about gay people within the Orthodox world?
M: Growing up, I didn’t have any friends that were openly gay, until high school, and even then it was rare. But I’ve become more open to that, because people I grew up with, best friends, turned out to be gay, and that always blows your mind. I was never upset, but just surprised. One guy I knew was always with so many girls, but it turns out he’s gay, and that’s something I would never have guessed in a million years. I didn’t mind and it didn’t affect our relationship at all.


How do you think the frum world reacts to the idea of frum gay people?
M: They have a terrible, negative reaction. There’s no live and let live concept. The belief is that “You are wrong.” There’s no “You’re still part of this community”, it’s just “You don’t deserve to be part of this community.” A friend of mine got very upset because she received a lot of hate mail. She was told that gay is the kind of stuff that makes our community look bad and this is something you have to keep under wraps.

What do you think about that?
M: I won’t swear but it’s messed up. It’s disgusting. Those two things can go hand in hand, and yet, they are treated like they can’t. The Jewish community does as much as it can to avoid letting people see that it’s possible to integrate the two identities, and that makes it hard for the people in the community who are gay. The Chabad world has never been penetrated with these kind of discussions. It’s all pent up and no one talks about it. They try to convince you that you’re not gay and that really you want to have a shidduch etc. It’s not addressed at all.


Do you know anyone who is openly frum and gay?
M: Yes. It’s a challenge, from what I see. You want to do right by God. You want to be respected like any other Jew should be respected. You’re serving G-d, making kiddush, praying, fasting, more so than a lot of people, and yet there’s no respect. You’re disqualified. Not only are you not religious enough, you’re not even counted as Jewish.
                                          G-d made me Jewish and only G-d can make me un-Jewish!
How many gay Jews do you know?
M: About a minyan. Being gay is pretty common, but people don’t talk about it, and they’re afraid to come out.


What’s the best thing about frum gay people?
M: The openness. You feel bonding, a sense of family when you see a Jew on the street. But for a FGP (frum gay person) to see another FGP, there’s this instant bond, both from the pain and from the joy, an instant bond. This sense of family and connection. They’ve both been through similar experiences so they can relate to each other.

If you could ask the frum community for one thing on behalf of frum gay Jews what would it be?
M: Please let them in. Let them be respected. They want the same thing you want.

Thank you so much, M. We certainly wish we had more supporters and allies like you in the frum community.