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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

One of My Least Favorite Topics

We did another exercise in class last night, this time focused on one of my least favorite topics - homosexuality. It's not one of my least favorite topics because I'm uncomfortable with the concept, or because I am homophobic, or even because I don't feel that it should be addressed. It's one of my least favorite topics because I am so conflicted about it. My professor had us close our eyes as he led us through a guided imagery. We were all to imagine that we were heterosexual in a predominantly homosexual world. Heterosexuals were known derogatorily as "breeders," children were taken from heterosexual homes to be placed in safe homosexual homes, heterosexuals had to hide their sexual identity from their friends, families and co-workers. Throughout their teenage years, when watching TV with friends, a sense of isolation and being different was felt when all your friends got excited at seeing someone beautiful of the same gender, and you didn't feel the same way. When insults and slurs were thrown across rooms in regards to your heterosexuality, they weren't corrected, because no one would think it offensive - no one knows that you are heterosexual, because it's not something you wear on your skin. You have to hide the gender of your "partner" from your co-workers; when something dire happens to your partner and you want to visit them in the hospital, you aren't allowed to - only immediate family can go in. It was a really powerful exercise; the point of it certainly struck home. I was almost in tears imagining what it would be like growing up with such an orientation - always feeling different and separate, not understanding what the majority was feeling when discussing attraction. The sense of alienation and loneliness that it can cause. Now, the situation is certainly better today than it has been in the past, but I can imagine that it's still incredibly difficult to live as a homosexual and not feel some sort of separation and misunderstanding. As someone who hates to see others in pain, my heart goes out to such a difficult situation in life, and I honestly wish things were different; maybe one day they will be. But again, why is this one of my least favorite topics? And why was I so uncomfortable in class when our professor went into further detail about the gay identity model that has been developed? Because of Orthodox Judaism's, i.e. the Torah's, i.e. Hashem's harsh decree for homosexuality. From the gay men (I honestly don't think I have been close to any lesbians) I have known, I honestly don't believe it's a choice. I think it is something that is inborn. But if it is, then why would Hashem make this natural desire something that is a horrible, punishable by death, act? I've had many discussions over the years with different people, and I can't figure it out. It's something that really bothers me. Because I'm not ready to abandon the Torah over it, but I also can't deny what seems to be nature. So I struggle with the topic. I feel incredibly fortunate to not have to deal with it personally. And I sat in class last night, as our professor discussed counseling students who are in the process of identifying themselves as gay, knowing that when I actually have to deal with students in this stage, which I am sure I will, I will be torn between my religious values and making a student feel he or she is fine and normal and encouraging them to take the steps towards that gay or lesbian identity. I'm torn, I don't know if I ever will work this one out.

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