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Sunday, 25 August 2013

BIKES AND DYKES



  
Today, we will be interviewing the sister of Z, who is an incredibly generous person, reknowned for her pursuit of justice. Hello B. We are glad to have you here today. How does it feel to be interviewed by Frum Gay Girl?
B: Um. It's cool. You're older than I expected!
I'll let that last comment slide! B, what do you most admire in a person?
B: Kindness
What do you most detest in a person?
B: Deceitfulness
                                These fingers do the talking...
Can you tell me an example of someone’s kindness?
B: I worked with people who were very poor. They had nothing! But every day, they tried to give me what little they had. It’s very different than in America, where people try to accumulate wealth, rather than be giving in that way. I think that’s the way the world should be. If people were like that, there would be a lot less fighting and wars. A lot less hate. It’s interesting that the poorest people, the people who have very little, are the most giving, the most loving.
What work are you doing now and have you done anything unusual work-wise in the past?
B: I’m a support worker for a handicapped boy, and I just finished working at a farmer’s market. I'm in my early twenties. For several summers, I worked with a country vet, and I also had the chance to work in a zoo’s clinic. I have worked overseas in developing countries.


What changes have your family gone through and how did they affect you?
B: There was a divorce in my family and we live with my mother now. My house is a whole lot less controlled. I don’t mean in a bad way. It’s a lot more open. Everyone is allowed to pursue what they are interested in and be an individual. 

We are, in a sense, ex-communicated from our old community (a Chassidic community). I guess I chose that. I didn’t want to be part of that, because people aren’t allowed to be individuals. They don’t like you to make your own choices. Everyone was in my business, trying to make sure that I followed G-d’s will, and it felt suffocating. I don’t feel like I fit in. 

I always wanted to do the things that weren’t allowed, and people frowned on me. It felt like I didn’t belong. For example, I’ve always enjoyed bike riding, and after my bas mitzvah, I wasn’t allowed to. The principal had spies to make sure you didn’t ride bikes and she put it in the school manual so that you could get punished for it, and then none of my friends wanted to ride bikes with me. I was outraged. It didn’t make sense to me. Biking is just a way of transportation and it shouldn’t be outlawed as if it’s something inappropriate. I think each person needs to make their own choices about what they want to do.

Are there any other changes your family has gone through since the divorce?
B: Financially, we are in much worse shape!

Oh! I’ve got one…my mom and my sister are both gay, you know.
                                Oooh ahhh, darlings! That's just too much!         
How do you feel about them being gay?
B: It doesn’t affect me, but I see that my mother is a happier person. I think people should be allowed to make their own choices about who they love and what they do. 
It does affect me this way though: People in the orthodox community are not nice to my mother. It makes me really sad that people can’t accept my mother. They think they can somehow control her by ostracizing her, even though they like her. She IS a very kind person, and it’s upsetting that her orientation has become a reason for people to be callous.

                                                             Or a very campy gay man
My sister doesn’t have as many problems. She doesn’t care what the community thinks. But our father still thinks that she will change back, and become straight again. He’s sad about her. He wants her to be like everyone else, and he doesn’t want her to be queer. He doesn’t tell her this. He tells me.

                                This photo is not intended to bear any ressemblance to anyone you know, living or dead
How does your father feel about your mother being gay?
B: He feels lied to and embarrassed because he was married to her for twenty years and had a bunch of kids.

What does he think about gay people in general?
B: He doesn’t think badly about other gay people, so long as they aren’t in his family.

                                Gneshie, Gnendel and Grunya Goldfarb, and Auntie Bee, after 
                                being kicked out of the family, drink painkiller on the terrace

How did he find out about your mother being gay?
B: I think it was in a newspaper article, or maybe it was through the Jewish grapevine. It was after the divorce.
                                                    Thank you, Jewish Press

Did he think she was gay before they were divorced?
B: I don’t think so. Mum says that he used to ask her all the time if she is gay, but he said he was surprised when he found out. Supposedly, he once asked her if she was gay when they were on the highway, doing 80 miles an hour, and he was very angry, so she said, "Why would you think that about me?" because she was scared he would do something dangerous.

                                A dyke? For reals???
What’s the worst thing about having a frum gay parent?
B: I hate when people are mean to my mother, because I just don’t understand. I don’t understand that hatred.
...And only one way?
What’s the best thing about having a frum gay parent?
B: We have a lot of incredible people come to visit us. And my mother is a real role model because she is who she is, despite all kinds of pressures. She just tries to be honest to herself. She helps a lot of other people do the same, and that’s really cool to see and be a part of.




NB. These amazing photos are all taken from the web (Thank you to all the incredible photographers who took them. As soon as I can figure out how to make links to these photos from their original websites, I will!) and are not my property. Occasionally, there are personal photographs, but for privacy and safety reasons, these will not be marked as such.