Saturday, August 7, 2010

Important Service

Last night the synagogue had a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transexual night. Many people I knew and some I didn't engaged in a panel discussion about their experiences. Though of course I knew in the abstract the difficulties people had faced with their variant sexualities because of the intolerance and worse that they faced, it was enlightening to say the least to be exposed first hand to the feelings a transexual who had been brought up in the synagogue as a girl and was now transitioning into a guy was having, and to hear about another such case of a person who is now a guy and has become a rabbi, though no congregation as yet will hire him. He's doing okay though, about to be married to a millionaire heiress. He will also be the parent of an adopted child. A teacher at the religious school bravely stepped up to discuss her sexuality (I hope no parents pull their kids out of the school for this reason, though in our congregation, I'd be pretty surprised if they did). Several people discussed what it was like to come out to their parents. The person from the religious school had also converted from Catholicism, and it was this, mostly, she said, that made her parents disown her, not the fact she was a lesbian.
I am really proud that we were able to discuss this openly, and I see it as a recognition of all people who are different, for whatever reason, and a pledge to support and accept them on the part of our community.

4 comments:

Lou said...

Ah, such conferences, workshops, lectures have been going on for years as the American gay population makes its message known. I am glad your synagogue gave them a forum.

Robbi said...

That's true, but I never thought I'd see them in a synagogue. I'm really glad I have. I knew if it were anywhere,except perhaps a mainly gay congregation like the one that used to be in Laguna Beach and still exist in the San Francisco area, it would be at this synagogue.

Robin said...

I am glad your synagogue is so open minded! I have never been a true Catholic or Christian in this sense, not if it means I am supposed to shun homosexuals, etc. (among other repressive belief systems). The author Anne Rice just announced on her blog that she was giving up being a Catholic and Christian in any formalized way because of issues like these. Now she says she is simply spiritual, and will content herself with praying in churches alone, without priests and all the trappings of an organized Mass, though she says she will miss the Mass. I understand her point thoroughly, though I also understand how hard it will be for an author who wrote two books on Jesus Christ.

Robbi said...

When R and I first got married, no synagogues would marry couples of mixed backgrounds. That changed, not all that long ago. And even though the rabbi was sympathetic to gays and lesbians, he hesitated to announce it because he didn't see how to get around what the Torah had to say about it. I guess he has changed his mind, though I don't think he performs gay weddings yet. Now, even the Orthodox acknowledge that homosexuality is not a choice, but something that is hard-wired. That's pretty radical for them. It still doesn't mean they accept overtly gay people though.