Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Showtime TV Series Controversy and International Gay Lobby: "Homeland, the Jews and Columbia University"

Showtime's Homeland Series
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN The Jerusalem Post 10/29/2012 

Terra Incognita: In an inflammatory article, Columbia University academic Joseph Massad writes, "on the first season of the show, cross-racial romance seems to have also infected the character of a white rich American woman."

In 1925 Adolph Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that Jews must always be judged first by their ethnoreligious identity; “when talking French his [the Jews’] thoughts are Jewish and when writing German rhymes he only gives expression to the character of his own race.” In 2012 Columbia University Associate Professor Joseph Massad wrote an op-ed for Al-Jazeera about the television show and CIA thriller Homeland where he dissected the ethnic-national actions of the characters; “The African American Estes is divorced and his former wife married an American Jew... the Jewish Berenson is married to an Indian Hindu ‘brown’ woman (perhaps cementing the Indian Hindu-Israeli Jewish right-wing alliance against Arabs and Muslims)... one can safely presume that Israeli Ashkenazi Jews are the accent tutors on the show.”

A worrisome logic connects the 1925 manifesto to the 2012 op-ed.Underlying the Massadian text is the theory that one’s race determines one’s actions. Thus a marriage is not a marriage, it is an alliance of the Jew and the Hindu. Those who watch the show know that the identity of Estes’ wife is unimportant and few will even be able to figure out where Massad got this information.

But it reminds one of the sentence from an addendum to the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: “If our daughters marry Goyim they will be no less useful, for the children of a Jewish mother are [Jewish].” Massad seems to imply that it is important to know which people have married Jews.

Miscegenation, the interfaith or interracial affairs of people, especially concerns Dr. Massad. “On the first season of the show, cross-racial romance seems to have also infected the character of a white rich American woman who fell in love with a ‘brown’ mildmannered Saudi professor.”

Here the word “infected” connotes disease. This fear of racial mixing was shared by Hitler, who noted, “by continually mixing with other races we might lift them from their former lower level of civilization to a higher grade; but we ourselves should descend forever from the heights we had reached.”

"Are We Still Treating Secular Jews Like We Treated Spinoza? Secular Jews Want Secular And Cultural Outlets For Their Judaism That The Jewish Community Still Refuses To Provide"

Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com October 28, 2012
Baruch Spinoza

A poll of 1,000 American Jews reveals that almost one in six are trying to find a way to express themselves Jewishly outside of affiliation with a synagogue or religious programing.The study, which was paid for by the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring and conducted by Ipsos Internet, reportedly debunks the myth that American Jews either identify culturally or religiously as Jews as an either/or proposition.

Respondents who identified themselves as “spiritual" or “cultural” and were engaged in Jewish life were alienated from synagogue membership or synagogue attendance, even though they practiced some religious rituals on their own and believed that religion was very important to them.

Just under 40% of those surveyed were under 35-years-old. 56% of respondents said they held a deep attachment to Israel, which the Workmen’s Circle claims is larger than “any other non-Orthodox group". In past Workmen’s Circle surveys, Jews who defined themselves as cultural Jews were “more passive about their approach to Jewish life,” a rather murky Sholom Life report reprinted in Ynet notes.

However, this year’s survey shows that there appears to be a shift in the way those respondents identifying as "cultural Jews" try to express their Judaism. These cultural Jews care about Jewish values and want to be affiliated with the Jewish community, but mostly want to experience this outside of a synagogue setting. But the Jewish community has few programs or publications aimed at these cultural Jews outside of traditional outreach-style programs meant to convert these secular Jews to various forms of Orthodoxy or ultra-Orthodoxy.

"A Gay Jewish Reading List" By Wayne Hoffman

Published in The Jewish Daily Forward Publication on August 31, 2011
 When I was first coming out 25 years ago, there were precious few books about being gay and Jewish. Thankfully, that’s not the case today. There are enough to fill whole bookcases. But will anyone who isn’t gay read them?

Conventional wisdom in the publishing industry says that non-gay people won’t read books with gay themes — with the notable exception of works by humorists, such as David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, who play their lives for laughs. Straight people can’t relate seriously to gay life, the thinking goes; they don’t know from such things, and they don’t want to know.

Even if there’s a kernel of truth in that notion — and I fear, sadly, that there often is — straight Jewish readers in particular should be able to bridge this culture gap by choosing Jewish gay books: While some of the gay content might be unfamiliar, at least the Jewish content will provide a point of identification.

"Is ‘Free’ Judaism A Good Idea?" by Gary Rosenblatt


The Torah gives us a paradigm. Each Israelite in the desert contributed a half-shekel to keep a census and maintain the sanctuary. Maybe I’m just jealous of the free offers being made to young Jews today, but part of me worries that down the road, these well-meaning programs and proposals — like trips to Israel, High Holy Day services, books for children and Shabbat meals — may have a negative effect on a generation that is being coddled and spoiled Jewishly.

The fact is that college students and Jews in their 20s are being showered with a variety of opportunities of engagement from a Jewish community deeply concerned about its future and believing that the best way to attract the next generation is to provide benefits at no cost.
A young woman in her 20s who is actively engaged in Jewish life in New York told me she enjoys going to synagogue but would never consider paying for membership or for High Holiday seats. It’s just an alien concept to her and she doesn’t have to make the choice because free services are available.

Surely free offers have appeal for the targeted audience, but is this a sign of strategic planning or desperation?

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Wrestling with Steve Greenberg" by Jay Michaelson

Purchase book by Rabbi Steve Greenberg

Article from Zeek.net in 2004

"I believe we are living in an age in which the shechinah is becoming visible," Rabbi Steve Greenberg says. "There are questions we can ask now that we have not been able to ask before."
Rabbi Steve Greenberg
Greenberg is "the openly gay Orthodox rabbi." That's the way he's referred to in the press, definite article included, and it's a destiny which he did not choose, but which he has come to accept.

 Featured in Trembling Before G-d, Greenberg joined filmmaker Sandi Simcha Dubowski on a worldwide journey in support of the movie, and is now on book tour for Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition, the most comprehensive treatment of the subject in publishing history.

His book, well-researched, well-argued, well-written, may change the lives of thousands of men and women. Greenberg thinks his case is so urgent not just because of humiliation and marginalization within the Jewish "religious" community, not just because of 60,000 gay teenage suicides a year, and not because of basic Jewish values of equality or dignity – but because gays and lesbians can help us do Torah better.

Greenberg's book is an apology for so many different ideologies that it's sometimes hard to know where the rabbi himself stands. It is, overtly, a plea for Orthodox Jews to take a more inclusive attitude toward their gay and lesbian members.

It is also a plea to queer Jews not to leave Orthodoxy behind, or relegate it to the dust-heap of exclusionary fundamentalisms. Greenberg recognizes – and invites Orthodox and Conservative Jews to recognize – that "for many gay Jews, it is Judaism, and not homosexuality, that is in question."

And so, even as he recognizes the homophobia and intolerance within the Jewish tradition – ideologies which existed alongside gay and lesbian Jews, and the ethos of effeminate masculinity so capably documented by Daniel Boyarin, Sander Gilmanand others – Greenberg goes about rescuing the halachic process, condemning many of its foremost proponents, but also engaging with them.  Read more.... Actual Interview Below

How can you be gay and Jewish? by author Jay Michaelson

I am sometimes asked: "How can you be gay and Jewish? Doesn't the Bible forbid homosexuality?" Here is my attempt at an answer. 

Jay Michaelson, author of God vs. Gay
At the outset, I am only answering this question as part of a subset of a subset of Jews: religious Jews who feel themselves bound or in some way affected by the Torah and Jewish law. 

 Of course, the majority of Jews do not believe themselves to be bound in any such way. For them, the issue is much simpler: any prohibitions which may exist are historical in nature and far less important than conscience, ethics, culture, and other values. The law evolves, or doesn't matter anyway. 

 So what the questioner really means is: how can one be gay and religiously Jewish, with a religious consciousness that, for whatever reasons, treats what the Bible says with seriousness. That is the question I mean to answer.

Purchase "God vs. Gay"
The Bible does not forbid homosexuality. 'Homosexuality' is a modern term, a pseudo- scientific category created in 1869. It refers not only to sexual acts, but to a sexual orientation, an identity, and is today used (imprecisely) to describe a range of sexual behaviors, attractions, and ideas about the self. This way of looking at sex acts was unknown both to the Bible and to the Talmud. 

Where the Torah does speak of sexual acts, as we will see below, it has no conception that these acts relate to personal identity, or to love. It expresses no belief that such acts are indicative of an inborn proclivity, and no conception that acts "make you gay," or even that one type sex act is necessarily related to another. Those who say that the Bible (or Torah, or Talmud, or halacha) forbids homosexuality are simply wrong. There is no such thing as Biblical homosexuality. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do the Math: Party Matters in the Fight for LGBT Equality by Rep. Barney Frank

Posted: 10/22/2012 1:18 pm Huffington Post Gay Voices section by US Rep. Barney Frank
From the standpoint of legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, the upcoming elections will be the most important in our history. 
In decades, there has not been a sharper distinction between the two parties on any issue than there is today on LGBT legal equality. 
President Obama, the Democratic platform and the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress support abolishing the restriction on federal recognition of same-sex marriages in states that recognize them and support an employment nondiscrimination act that is fully transgender-inclusive. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the Republican platform and more than 90 percent of congressional Republicans strongly oppose them.
I have been asked by many people why I inject partisanship into the effort to advance our rights. The answer is statistically very clear: It is not those of us who support LGBT equality who have made this a partisan issue; it is the modern Republican Party in its current extremely conservative mode that has done so. 
If you take Mitt Romney, Speaker John Boehner and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell at their word, no legislation advancing our rights has any chance of passage if these men control any of the three branches of the federal government. 
And if Mitt Romney is president, and especially if he has a compliant Republican majority in the Senate, we can expect Supreme Court vacancies to be filled with more Antonin Scalias. Romney's decision to make Robert Bork one of his primary advisors on judicial issues guarantees this; Bork is the only person I can think of who has held federal judicial office who outdoes Scalia in his venom against us.

"The Jewish Interfaith Problem" by Noah Baron

Huffington Post                   
By the time I reached my senior year of college, I'd had my life plan for about a decade already: go to college, major in political science, go to law school, get involved with politics. This, I thought, was the best way for me to make the world a better place. Although I had some minor deviations from that path (coming out of the closet was originally not part of the plan for me), the whole thing was largely intact. But as I began preparing to apply to law school, I began wondering: what if I don't want to be a lawyer? What if I want to do something else? What if I do good in other ways? What if I want to become a rabbi?
I was (and am) passionate about my faith, I enjoyed Jewish learning and theological discussions and thought that perhaps the rabbinate would be a better way to make a difference. The rabbi and the rabbinical intern at my university Hillel both encouraged me to apply to rabbinical school.
But when I began looking into the Reform and Reconstructionist rabbinical colleges, I discovered a barrier I hadn't imagined would be a problem: I would have to sign a statement affirming that I would not be in an interfaith relationship at the time of my ordination. Although I was in an interfaith relationship at the time, that requirement would have been as offensive to me if I had not been.
Some friends suggested that I should sign the statement anyway, and keep my relationship a secret. "It's not uncommon," a friend at Hebrew Union College, the Reform rabbinical school, informed me. But I had already spent 16 years in the closet as a gay man -- I was not keen on going back.

WATCH: (Please wait for the end of the video) Missouri Minister Gives Gay Rights Speech With a Twist Phil Snider appeared to be arguing against LGBT rights

The Advocate- 10/20/12 By Trudy King 
When the Springfield, Mo., City Council was considering an LGBT rights ordinance this summer, the Reverend Phil Snider of the Brentwood Christian Church delivered a surprising message to council members.
Saying he was speaking in favor of the ordinance, he began to give what appeared to be homophobic arguments against it, saying “special rights for gays and lesbians” was an action of “immorality and lawlessness” that would bring “the judgment of God upon our land.” Then, about two minutes into his statement, there is a stunning twist.
Snider made his statement to the council in August, shortly before the members decided to table the ordinance and have a task force study it, but the video has just recently been getting renewed attention online. Watch below — and stay until the end. And you can check out Snider’s thoughts on the reaction to his talk at his blog. 

Study: No difference in development of foster kids adopted by gay or straight parents

'No scientific basis to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents' - LGBTQ NATION  Monday October 22nd, 2012
High-risk children adopted from foster care by gay parents fare equally in their cognitive and emotional development as those adopted by heterosexual parents, according to a new UCLA study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
The study is the first to compare children who were adopted out of foster care by gay men, lesbians, and heterosexual couples, and to track their progress over time, said lead author Justin Lavner, a doctoral candidate at UCLA.
The researchers followed 82 children in Los Angeles County -- 22 of whom were adopted by gay parents at the average age of 4 -- and evaluated them after two months, one year, and two years after they were placed with their adoptive families.

Man says N.C. church confined him because he was gay

By Michael Gordon Published in: Faith & Values
Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale,
led by Sam and Jane Whaley,
has been accused of enforcing
 extensive control over members.
1995 AP FILE

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/10/22/3613469/man-says-nc-church-confined-him.html#storylink=cpy
A 22-year-old man has accused his former Rutherford County church of holding him for four months against his will while he was physically and emotionally abused because he is gay.
Michael Lowry filed a complaint in February against Word of Faith Fellowship Church, a nondenominational Christian congregation in Spindale that has made national headlines with some of its practices.
In a statement given to a sheriff’s department investigator last week, Lowry said he was kept in a church building from Aug. 1 to Nov. 19, 2011. He said he was knocked unconscious during his first day of confinement.
Lowry’s former pastor, Jane Whaley, said Sunday that all of his allegations are “lies.”
Whaley said Lowry was not held or beaten. She said the church only learned that he was gay when his family did – after watching a news report by an Asheville television station Thursday.
Lowry said he first told his family and church leaders of his sexual orientation when he was 15 or 16. That set off years of harassment and abuse, he said, as church members tried to expel the demon that they believed caused his homosexuality.

Gay advocacy becomes a life’s calling for Jewish mom: J-Weekly

J-Weekly Catherine Tuerk 9/27/12  
In between cooking honey chicken for Rosh Hashanah dinner and preparing the house to have her grandchildren over, Catherine Tuerk is more than happy to carve out some time to talk about gay pride.

In fact, Tuerk easily qualifies as one of the nation’s most determined, tenacious gay pride advocates — who is also a psychotherapist, essayist, Jewish mother, adoring grandmother of five and world traveler. Now 70, she’s just published her first book on a topic close to her heart: being mom to a gay son.

Catherine Tuerk, The Washington, D.C., activist has been dedicated to the cause since 1989, when her son came out in his final year in college. At the time, she knew nothing about what it meant to be gay, to come out, or to be the parent of a gay child. Despite always being aware that Joshua was “different,” even putting him through four years of psychoanalysis to try and change his gender-nonconforming interest in “girly things,” the news was not something Tuerk and her husband, Jon, were prepared to hear, or handle.

“We were devastated,” she recalls. “We went to bed and cried all night. We felt like it was over, like our son was dead.”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

WATCH: Sally Field's Amazing Speech About Her Gay Son



Sally Field, beloved for her roles in films like Places in the Heart, Steel Magnolias, and Norma Rae, talked about being the proud mom to a gay son as she accepted the Human Rights Campaign's Ally for Equality Award on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
The actress discussed how her youngest son Sam, who introduced his mother at the event, was different from his two older brothers and how she supported Sam on his journey to come out, which he did at age 20.
"Nature made Sam, it wasn't a choice," Field said. After sharing her own experiences with Sam, Field said it was unacceptable for parents to toss LGBT kids out of their homes or hearts. She also thanked the audience and said, "You all have fought for him as surely as you were one of his parents. You've changed and are changing the lives of little boys and girls who realized somewhere along the way they're just different from their other brothers and sisters. And so the fuck what." Watch the entire speech below


Canadian ‘gay cure’ doctor to stand trial for sexually assaulting patients

By John M. Becker Truth Wins Out
Aubrey Levin
          CALGARY, Alberta, Canada — Aubrey Levin, a Canadian psychiatrist and longtime proponent of so-called “ex-gay” therapy, will face charges in Calgary next week that he sexually assaulted male patients. A jury ruled Tuesday that he was fit to stand trial, despite Levin’s claims that he suffers from the early stages of dementia.
          One of the doctor’s current patients told CTV Calgary that Levin was treating him for gambling addiction but began asking questions about his sexuality that made him feel uneasy. He said ”I didn’t want [Levin] to write anything negative about me” (the Calgary Sun reported that his visits to Levin were court-ordered) and that nobody believed him when he sought help, so he took matters into his own hands, donning a hidden wristwatch camera and recording the doctor’s actions during two subsequent therapy sessions. It was the footage he obtained that led to Levin’s arrest.

Law, health groups target Illinois ‘ex-gay’ services social worker with complaint

Jerry, a 23-year-old Texan,
said he underwent seven years of conversion
 therapy, according to an SPLC video.
By Tony Merevick from the Chicago Phoenix
         The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Thursday, calling upon the department’s licensing board to investigate the practices of a Chicago-area social worker, who they say practices ”ex-gay” conversion therapy services.
          The SPLC complaint, filed on National Coming Out Day against Bloomingdale-based clinical social worker Paul McNulty, comes just weeks after California banned the same type of services through a bill passed by its legislature and ratified by Gov. Jerry Brown. Illinois is now one of many states involved in the nationwide effort by pro-LGBT advocates to ban such services.
          Jerry, a 23-year-old Texan, said he underwent seven years of conversion therapy, according to an SPLC video.Conversion therapy services, commonly known as “ex-gay” therapy, is a controversial practice that proponents claim can change a person’s sexual orientation, but professional medical agencies and LGBT rights advocates argue it’s a harmful and discriminatory practice.
          “It is deeply concerning that a mental health professional, licensed by the state of Illinois, is allowed to freely practice a discredited form of counseling that has no place in modern therapy,” said Christine Sun, SPLC deputy legal director in a media release. “Conversion therapy has caused nothing but pain and devastation.”

Keshet » Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School trailer

The story of a whole community inspired and changed by one girls courage

Keshet » Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School trailer

HINEINI (Hebrew for ‘Here I am’) chronicles the story of one student’s courageous fight to establish a gay-straight alliance at a Jewish high school in the Boston area and the transformative impact of her campaign on her entire community.
Longing to connect more deeply with her Jewish identity, Shulamit Izen enters 9th grade at The New Jewish High School (now Gann Academy) in Waltham, Massachusetts. She also starts school as an out lesbian.
Using interviews with Shulamit, her family, teachers, and other students – both those who support her campaign and those who oppose it – the film allows the members of this community to tell their own stories. What emerges is a potent and inspiring story of Jewish pluralism and a community navigating the cross-currents of Jewish tradition and social change.
Beyond the struggle to create a supportive environment for gay and lesbian students and teachers at the school, this is the story of a community wrestling with the very definition of pluralism and diversity in a Jewish context.
From sanctifying same-sex marriages to ordaining gay rabbis, discussions of GLBT identity and inclusion are taking place across the Jewish religious spectrum. Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School offers a vital new framework in which to understand these issues and a powerful catalyst for discussion and dialogue in all communities.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NCOD "National Coming Out Day." 4 parts: Creation, History, Visibility and Coming Out Guide

 According to the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) website:
On Oct. 11, 1987, half a million people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It was the second such demonstration in our nation’s capital and resulted in the founding of a number of LGBT organizations, including the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization (LLEGÓ) and AT&T’s LGBT employee group, LEAGUE.  The momentum continued four months after this extraordinary march as more than 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists from around the country gathered in Manassas, Va., about 25 miles outside Washington, D.C. Recognizing that the LGBT community often reacted defensively to anti-gay actions, they came up with the idea of a national day to celebrate coming out and chose the anniversary of that second march on Washington to mark it. The originators of the idea were Rob Eichberg, a founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O'Leary, then head of National Gay Rights Advocates. From this idea the National Coming Out Day was born.
To this day National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBT individuals to live truthfully and openly".

"Sydney: Christian doctor banned for prescribing chemical castration ‘gay cure’ to teen" PinkNews.co.uk

An Australian doctor and member of a conservative Christian sect has been banned from practicing medicine after he prescribed a teenager a chemical castration drug for use as a ‘gay cure’.
In 2008, GP Mark Craddock, prescribed the 18-year-old the anti-androgen therapy cyproterone acetate, sold under the brand name Cyprostat, during a 10-minute consultation in his home.
According to AFP, the drug is used to treat prostate cancer. The patient was also a member of the same branch of the Exclusive Brethren Church as the doctor, and was told by church members that “medication” would him with his sexuality.

"The Way I Was" Confessions of a Gay Jewish Streisand Ignoramus by Jay Michaelson

          As a Jewish gay man, I know that Barbra Streisand should be a double icon. A strong woman with a knack for musicals, she’s in the gay pantheon right next to Audrey Hepburn and, l’havdil, Madonna. And for Jews, of course, she’s the one who made it big, and did it her way: no name change, no nose job, no hiding of the intense Brooklyn accent, and still she got to kiss Robert Redford (and Kris Kristofferson… and Don Johnson… and James Brolin… and so on).
          This month, Streisand’s coming home to Brooklyn, performing five minutes away from my place in Park Slope. Yet, though Streisand will be close by geographically, she remains culturally distant. First, the home from which she came, and the one to which she is returning, is not familiar to me. Streisand’s Brooklyn and Barclays’s Brooklyn are each far removed from my own. The vanished, Yiddish-speaking Brooklyn of Streisand’s childhood exists only as a shadow of its former self in a few Hasidic enclaves and frum communities to the south. And the Barclays Center is the antithesis of all that’s good about the Brooklyn renaissance — the independent stores and restaurants, the diverse population, the locally oriented culture and food and music — and represents an odious corporate onslaught that reeks of Manhattan. 
          But can I make a confession? The first Streisand vehicle I experienced was “Yentl,” in 1983, followed by surreptitious listenings to my parents’ copy of “The Broadway Album” on vinyl. By the time I came of age, Streisand was past her prime, at least in terms of celebrity. Indeed, whereas today I look back on “Yentl” as perhaps the absurd apogee of her status as a gay icon — Barbra in drag! — at the time, it seemed like yet another Jewish movie. When it comes to Babs, I missed the boat.

"Questions remain after Long Island teen commits suicide over alleged anti-gay bullying" LGBTQ Nation

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — The Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Network said it would fast-track its efforts to open an LGBT community center in Suffolk County after learning that an East Hampton, N.Y. teen who was allegedly the victim of anti-gay bullying took his own life last week.
David Hernandez Barros, 16, was found at his family’s home on the evening of Sept. 29, dead of an apparent suicide, according to East Hampton Police Detective Lt. Christopher Anderson.
Rumors circulating the internet indicated that David, a junior at East Hampton High School,had been bullied at school because he was gay, although questions about David’s sexual orientation remain unanswered by family members who declined to comment this week through a family friend acting as a spokesperson. 

"List of Jewish LGBT Organizations Worldwide"

HUGE List of Jewish LGBT Organizations Worldwide

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Twice Blessed: Being Gay and Jewish" by Dr. Joe Kort

Posted: 09/28/2012 3:32 pm Huffington Post Dr. Joe Kort- Author, Psychotherapist, sexologist, and relationship therapist; founder, Center for Relationship and Sexual Health www.crsh.com 
Words can hurt. Verbal and psychological abuse can be harder to recover from than actual physical violence in the sense that when physically harmed you are taken seriously and people believe you. When it is verbal and covert people tend to blow it off and minimize it. The fact that nothing is done after any type of abuse -- verbal or otherwise -- is a secondary trauma and can be worse than the actual words.
I am intrigued that a Canadian university is looking at casual homophobia on the Internet and citing the number of times anti-gay terms are being used daily, weekly and yearly on Twitter. Their intent is to show the damage done by these anti-gay words being used.
The last two weeks were the high holy Jewish days Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur -- the Jewish New Year and day of atonement. I reflected on my being Jewish and having been raised in a culture where everyone in my family was Jewish and honored me and validated me for being one too.
I knew of the concept growing up but never actually suffered from direct acts of it. I knew epithets like "Jew boy, "kike," and "Jew them down" existed but never had any of these words or phrases directed to me personally.
I was raised in Oak Park, Michigan in the 1970s when it was predominately Jewish. My mother wanted us to be raised in a nice Jewish neighborhood and to be surrounded by "sameness."
I worked at a grocery store, and every holiday season both Christmas and Chanukah decorations were displayed. It seemed equitable. I believed at the time that the whole world was like that.
Equal opportunity. We had a token "non-Jewish" friend in my social circle, a guy who found it endearing to be part of the group. I had plenty of opportunities to see other Jewish role models. Even as Oak Park began to become integrated, I still had a lot of contact with many other Jewish people.
I was first faced with being a minority in college, where I was the only Jew in a new social group. There were no menorahs displayed during the Christmas/Chanukah season, only Christmas trees. Even so, people were sensitive to the fact that I was a minority and endearingly referred to me as the "token Jew."
My friends and acquaintances were careful about what they said about Jews and asked me a lot of questions.

"A Jewish perspective on same-sex marriage" by Jonathan Romain

by Jonathan Romain published inThe Independent. Tuesday October 9, 2012
From a Jewish Perspective, it is hard to see why anyone religious can be against same-sex marriage without being accused of acute hypocrisy. 
Christians might quote the Bible and the verse in Leviticus 18.22 which declares ‘You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination’ or go a few chapters on where it is not only repeated, but in even stronger terms, and the death penalty is laid down for all practitioners (20.13).
However, despite those who piously cite Scripture, they have no problem ignoring other verses in the same sacred book. For instance, about circumcising their male children, abstaining from pork or prawns, and not wearing garments in which wool & linen is mixed.
Those who conveniently overlook those commands but still object to homosexuality, are just doing a pick and mix job with the Bible, and are driven not by religious beliefs but by anti-gay prejudice.
As for Jews who take all of the Hebrew Bible seriously, there are three choices when approaching the verses on gays.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In Memoriam "The memory and meaning of Matthew Shepard, 14 years later"

Matthew Shepard

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming.
He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.
Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face.
Aaron had discovered 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.                                      

"Comment: Equal marriage is a test for my Jewish Orthodox faith" by by Oliver Kasin

Oliver Kasin says he was
confronted with
a dilemma during
the recent Yom Kippur
Writing for PinkNews.co.uk, LGBT campaigner Oliver Kasin talks of how his Orthodox Jewish faith has created a personal conflict due to his sexuality. He would also like the Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks to end his opposition to equal marriage.
          Last week was the twenty five hour Jewish fast day, Yom Kippur. The name Yom Kippur means ‘Day of Atonement’ or ‘Day of Judgement’ and is the final day of a ten day period known as the ‘Ten Days of Repentance’. Every year, Jews will take the time to look inwards, make plans for the future and assess the sins they have made in the past year.
         Yom Kippur is the day in which God makes his final decisions for each Jewish person about the coming year, before inscribing them into the Book of Life.
         This Yom Kippur, I started the fast in the normal fashion, without any expectation of what was ahead of me. Little did I know, but this Yom Kippur would soon become a personal judgement of my own Jewish Orthodoxy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Bullying, bulimia and going back to school" Pinknews.co.uk

Writing for Pinknews.co.uk, Sam Thomas, the founder and director of a national eating disorders charity, says today’s start of the new school term for LGBT students across the UK, conjures up his own difficult memories of classroom life and of homophobic bullying.
This week sees the start of ‘back to school’ for many children and teenagers, which I dreaded the most…My story begins at high school, at the age of 11. I did very well at tests – swot, boffin, those sorts of names came my way – but it became apparent that I wasn’t like the other boys, interested in cars and football. I had quite an effeminate appearance and my voice broke and sounded quite squeaky, which made the problem worse. At this point the bullying and teasing became predominantly homophobic.

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