One of the two yearly readings of the verses for which Gay Men have been bullied, vilified, expelled, driven to suicide, and murdered (the latter not by Jews) is coming up. The time has gone that many rabbis found it needed to abuse this occasion to further the abuse of Queer Jews. But what do you do when an Ally says friendly nonsense instead? The subject is complex. There is no success for anyone who quickly wants to reinvent the wheel.
What do you say to a man who wants to help end sexism and calls upon men “To protect women because we all know they are weaker”? Such an Ally, we don’t trash. We appreciate his intentions and hard work.
We gently tell him to listen more to women and talk more with other men on the hardship of being an Ally, hindered by guilt feelings, attacked from all sides. We tell him, most powerlessness in women is internalized sexism. This will not plague a girl raised with expectations she’s strong. But he’s right that one of the hallmarks of a true man is that he’ll protect the weak.
It still asks tremendous courage for an Orthodox Rabbi to speak up for Men and Lesbians, Trans-people, and Bisexuals. Good for them for believing in the intrinsic value and holiness of all of G^d’s children. Good for them for using their position for improvement of the life of Jews and everyone else. G^d wants us to have a great life, leading to eternal life.
When you ask Dutch people, You want to eat already, they’ll look at their watch. Don’t they have a stomach to check? They do, but they are conditioned to ignore feelings. Everything has to answer to set times.
There are still people who will check Scripture to know what to think about Homosexuals. Don’t they have non-Straight friends? They may. But they were trained by Bible thumpers who don’t know any better. They ignore the world around them and Scientific findings to stay in a comfort bubble.
When you give people life advice and you see they all end up dead or suicidal, don’t you check out what’s going on? Those saintly Queer Jews who followed Orthodox advice got these results: un-maintainable Straight marriages (with much heartbreak for spouses and kids), tremendous costs (therapy, losing fortunes and decades, often), oversexed lonely lives.
Now, look at Gays who said: To hell with it. I only have one life. I choose what feels real. There is nothing wrong with Gay sex; it is holy. There is nothing wrong with Gay love. It brings out the best in me. There is nothing wrong with not being in the closet. That was the best decision I ever made. I want a same-sex partner, raise children, build an eternal home, love.
How are they doing? The first ones’ lives are hell, the latter in paradise. Could the Torah be wrong, Heaven forbid? (Spoiler alert: of course not.) Nearly everything bad about being Gay comes from man-made oppression. And so it is with everything life-threatening for Gays who obey nonsense.
Of course, it’s scary to really look at the ugliness in your tradition, instead of becoming defensive. But the German Nation has shown that it can be hard but workable. That defending the indefensible cannot bear real pride and conviction. That real goodness comes from saying: we were wrong.
In this case, my research taught me that Moses, the Sages, and Halachic Deciders were always spot-on about the ban on homosexual intercourse with Straight men. That only 60 years ago, most Rabbis went wrong, following fundamentalist Christian literalism and anti-sexual attitudes.
Yes, it can be a shock to contemplate that all sex between homosexuals is OK but homosexual intercourse with Straight men a capital offense. That may be frightening for all those heterosexuals who as boys experimented.
No one ever should say again that homosexuality is a sin but being homosexual not. G^d asks of no creature to forgo sex altogether (except of Moses in his later years). (If you don’t acknowledge Gay relational sex, every awake ejaculation by a Gay Man would be a grave sin.) G^d is not cruel. Obedience to the Torah and Jewish Law can be hard but never impossible. It cannot ruin your life or you have misread what it says.
It’s just preposterous to assume that Gays are beyond sexuality, don’t need to follow the Commandment to form a sexual union (leave your parents and cleave to a spouse) or to become like one being (‘flesh’).
But you don’t need to go into all the arguments when someone preaches nonsense about homosexuals. Just say: You don’t know the first thing of what you are talking about and you are a disgrace like that. And most people will agree with you. And you have prevented a few more suicides.
Jealousy is a battle for so many. Almost everyone can find ‘reasons’ to envy the other party, see the grass so much greener at the other side of the normalcy fence. Many Straights feel jealous that most Gay couples don’t need to overcome the gender gap, worry about anti-conception, or battle such normalcy. Many Gays envy the ease, abundant privilege, and support Straights get, or their lack of struggles at identity, coming out, and getting to raise kids. The moral of the story is, be proud of who you are, happy with your lot, and play the best game with the cards you were dealt.
Gays and Lesbians are the sweetest people. Don’t welcome them despite everything but because of everything. They are not rebels against Judaism. If they seem to be, they must have been repelled and expelled. They likely will be more spiritual than the rest. Enjoy their friendship and advice and your life will be better for it. Among our 20 million Jews, at least 1 million are not Straight. On average, a whopping third of us have one first-degree GLBDA family member. May all Straights break their isolation from them.