Posts Tagged ‘bisexuality’

I’ve been trying to think of the words to say for hours. I’ve been wondering if I should say anything. I’ve wanted to throw myself into anime or a book or into any form of entertainment, because sometimes the made-up worlds are better than the real one we inhabit. In the end though, I had to say something. I think I knew I was going to the moment I heard what happened today. And I had to let you know, I’m afraid in a way I don’t like to be.

Earlier today, a man named Robert Bowers opened fire at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Three different services for three different congregations were being held that morning, with nearly a hundred people in the synagogue. Eleven people were killed and several more were injured, including four of the police officers who showed up to subdue Bowers, who has made numerous statements on social media about the Jews and “invaders,” aka immigrants and refugees. Tree of Life has been active with organizations that help out immigrants and refugees, including most notably HIAS, which may have played a role in Bowers’s selection of Tree of Life as his target. He has been captured and is awaiting being charged, including federal hate crime charges.

I found out about the shooting this afternoon while out with my cousin, who is here in Columbus for an internship. A friend sent me a link to an article about it. I felt my blood go cold, but I didn’t tell my cousin. I didn’t want to ruin the day for him. I’m sure by now he knows. And he’s probably as scared as me.

This is the second mass shooting in the United States that has been associated with one of the facets of my identity. The last one was when Pulse was shot up in Orlando, Florida, two days after my twenty-third birthday. Pulse was a gay nightclub. Fort-nine people died. I’m bisexual. I wasn’t affected directly, but I was affected.

This was worse. I’ve been Jewish, knew I was Jewish well before I was aware I was bisexual. I feel connected to my religion in so many ways. In college, I studied the Holocaust and have pursued it further since. I’ve noticed the climb in anti-Semitism in the United States over the last two years.

And I knew people from Tree of Life. In high school, my synagogue’s youth group would meet up with other youth groups from throughout the region several times a year to hang out and be Jewish as a group. Tree of Life would sometimes join us.

And before my family moved to Columbus, we considered living in Pittsburgh. We even visited to look at houses and to see what the schools and synagogues were like. I don’t remember what synagogue we were considering joining, but for all I know, it could’ve been Tree of Life. And even if it wasn’t, who knows where I might’ve ended up worshiping later in life. Who knows what might’ve happened if my parents had decided Pittsburgh was a better choice than Columbus?

I’m afraid. I’ve known for a while how anti-Semitism in the US and around the world have been making a comeback. I knew it was real. But it’s no longer that far removed from me. It struck close today.

I’m terrified. But I don’t want to be terrified. And, as happens when I’m scared, I have to fight and conquer what scares me.

We need to do more to stop monsters like this poor excuse for a man. Or more like him will copy him. And many more may die.

The Anti-Defamation League said this was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in this country, and that it’s “unthinkable that it would happen in the United States of America in this day and age.” I say that it was not only thinkable, but more than likely to happen at some point. And that’s the problem we need to fix.

People are going to offer thoughts and prayers and suggest armed guards to stop this from happening again. The thing is, the people at Tree of Life were thinking and praying. Among our liturgy are prayers to be kept safe from the enemies of our people. And many synagogues already have security in the form of retired or off-duty police officers. And as we saw at the Stoneman Douglas shooting earlier this year, the presence of an armed guard doesn’t always deter a violent man with a gun and a goal in mind.

I’m a big believer in the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” I also believe that if you take a step towards a goal, the universe takes a step with you. And I think it’s high-time we treat this chronic disease we’ve been dealing with in the United States for far too long. Very soon, Americans everywhere will have the chance to set the course of our country for the next couple years. I’m asking every American reading this, and all the ones who aren’t, to take advantage of this opportunity to set this course. And to please set a course that involves making the requirements to own a gun as stringent as the ones to drive a car, as well as increased care and research for mental illness, and for higher tolerance for all peoples, not just the Jewish people.

Because in the end, we are all one humanity. Forty-six genes in every cell, five fingers and toes on each limb, same organs and blood that is red and carries oxygen to our cells. And if we can’t make members of our species realize that, what good are we as a whole?

I also encourage you to donate to HIAS and other organizations that try to foster understanding and help those less fortunate than others. Because in the face of hate, the most powerful weapon we have is love. So show love.

Make your voice heard.

Take action.

Because all evil needs to triumph is for good people to do nothing. And we can’t allow that to happen.

Be brave. Fight back against evil. And above all, be safe.

Thanks for listening.

Yesterday, arguments on four consolidated cases relating to same-sex marriage began in the Supreme Court. The cases mostly have to do with the legality and constitutionality of same-sex bans in certain states, and if states have to recognize same-sex marriages from out of state, that sort of thing. According to the New York Times article I just read, things went about as expected: the justices were divided along the traditional party lines, though Justice Kennedy seemed to show some sympathy towards the couples opposing the ban. Not a bad start, in my opinion. And considering how the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 and the recent tide of marriage victories in states across the country, LGBT advocates have good reason to be hopeful.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you already know that I am openly bisexual (if you’re new here and this is your first time hearing this, surprise!). I also have friends and family who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, as well as many different straight people. I’ve written an article about how the Bible could actually allow homosexuality rather than demonize it and I wrote a follow up article to that defending my beliefs. And from my perspective on this, these cases are about more than just marriage, though that’s a big part of it. It’s about making people feel equal to everyone else. It’s about acknowledging that LGBT are people, and deserve to be treated as people.

I first started realizing my sexual orientation during the fall semester of 2013, though I’d had inklings of it over the years. You know what the first emotion I felt was upon realizing I was bisexual? Fear. Because even though I knew so many LGBT people, that they and many others are accepted by the general populace, that the country is moving towards being more accepting and that by the time I had kids LGBT people will be fully-accepted members of society.

I was afraid. Because in many places, including places where the LGBT community is strong and loved, there are people who are scared to come out, that there are places where being out or suspected of being LGBT can get you ostracized or even killed, that there are plenty of people who hate me and the LGBT community because of our very existence, maybe even kill us in some cases.

And that scared me. Nobody wants to be hated, to be cursed to death for our existence, We all want to be accepted. But I had to accept myself and eventually I did. And then I came out, and I was loved and supported. But what about other people, those who can’t come out or be themselves because they’re afraid of how the people in their lives will treat them? Where they’re considered less than human, monsters masquerading and mistreating the human body? Why should they be unable to accept who they are?

Now I know that granting a marriage license won’t solve homophobia in America or worldwide overnight. But it’s a good start. Marriage is something that every kid knows about before they grasp the concept of death or where babies come from. It’s one of those things that’s made to be something magical, powerful, a bond that is not easily questioned or taken for granted without consequences. Imagine the good that can do if we as a nation extend that to everyone no matter their genetic predisposition (yes, it’s genetic, they’re finding more and more evidence of that every damn day, and no amount of praying is going to change that, just as no amount of praying is going to turn me into Vin Diesel) towards whom they’re attracted.

And extending marriage to same-sex couples isn’t going to cheapen marriage, or negatively impact heterosexual marriage, or hurt kids. All the research that says it will has been proven false or doesn’t actually exist. Clergy aren’t going to be forced to perform marriages they don’t believe in, because there is always going to be a clergyperson who does want to perform such a ceremony or there’s a courthouse where the marriage can be performed. And traditional marriage won’t be thrown out the window, because traditional marriage isn’t really a thing to begin with. Marriages used to be business deals between the heads of two households, with the creation of a new family as part of the deal. It was only during the late 17th and early 18th centuries that daughters had any say in their spouses, and only much later on that love became a major consideration in marriage arrangements. So marriage as we know it might only be 100 years old or so.

And believe it or not, there have been partnerships in this country between people of the same sex that were considered like marriage or as marriage. Several Native American tribes allowed for same-sex marriages (people attracted that way were considered special in the tribe) and after America was established there were same-sex marriages by their neighbors, including James Buchanan. Yeah, one of our Presidents. Prior to his time in the White House, Buchanan had a ten year partnership with a man named William Rufus King (later Vice President to Franklin Pierce) and in later years wrote to a member of the Roosevelt family about wooing several gentlemen without much success.

With all this, I think it’s important that the Supreme Court make a decision that reflects what I know is true: that just because someone is born a certain way doesn’t mean they are wrong or evil or they need to be changed. They just need to be given the same protections and opportunities as everyone else. In other words, they need to be treated like everyone else. And making that the law of the land with one of the most beautiful bonds one can create between two people is a good way to begin with that.

Thank you for reading.

With the Columbus Pride Festival coming up this weekend, LGBT people from around the country (including George Takei as Grand Marshal for events this year) will be descending upon Columbus for a huge parade and festival to celebrate their sexual orientations, fight discrimination and injustice, and to push for same-sex marriage in Ohio, which is on the ballot this year. It’s sure to be a great time for many.

For some though, the Pride Festival will not be so welcome, and while Columbus may be one of the Midwest’s LGBT hotspots, there is the very real chance that protesters will show up and decry what they see as perversion, sin a horrible lifestyle, or some sort of disease/genetic defect/psychological disorder. Usually I ignore these sorts of people, but I figured that since I’ll most likely be attending the Pride Festival this year (my first), I thought it would be interesting to do a post on these protestors, most of whom have a Biblical basis for why they’re opposed to homosexuality, and show how the Bible could actually endorse homosexuality rather than outright ban it.

Before I do though, I wanted to post this video I found, which I think is very eye-opening, and gives some very good points on the Bible and homosexuality:

Interesting, isn’t it? And that thing about Sodom and Gomorrah mirrors pretty closely what I learned growing up about why those cities were destroyed. In fact, I remember a pretty graphic tale about how two girls met at a well, one realized the other’s family was very poor and gave her some flour for her family. When the town elders heard about it, they basically took the first girl and stoned her in public (I’m not sure what happened to the second girl, but she probably came away from that emotionally scarred and still hungry, if not dead). And if you want to know more about that book they talked about in the video, here’s a TIME magazine article on it.

I would like to add some points on to these, based on my own upbringing, experience, and understanding of the Old Testament (I’m not very familiar with the New Testament of course, being Jewish). First, that famous verse in Leviticus that anti-gay pastors love to quote, “Thou shall not sleep with a man as thou sleeps with a woman”. First off, what can women do? Second, this sounds like a prohibition against homosexuality, but it could have other meanings.

Of course, there’s the anatomical one: men can’t sleep with other men like they can with women, because men don’t have vaginas. But I’m pretty sure that argument, although obvious, won’t sway many people, so here’s two more that might. Firstly, there’s the patriarchal argument: women in the days when the Bible was written were expected to attend to their husband’s sexual needs, and most likely that meant they had no say in it unless they were impure and couldn’t have sex anyway. In an age where men were expected to be dominant in all matters, especially in the home, forcing one man to attend to another man’s sexual needs at the latter’s beck and call would be considered the ultimate emasculation, so therefore sex between men was forbidden.

The other reason (and the one I feel makes the most sense), is based on pagan idol worship. Many Near East and Mediterranean societies practiced homosexuality, not as a distinct orientation, but as an activity. The Greeks were famous for having relationships between other males before marriage, and there were other societies at the time that had cultures that permitted men to have relationships with each other before or after marriage. Some of these relationships were especially prevalent in military circles to increase unit cohesion, and a few were ritualized in the form of idol worship. God would have seen this latter act, worship of idols through sexual intercourse, as detestable, so He created a form of worship and sacrifice that did not involve sex, and forbade a form of sex that does not lead to procreation, as well as because it was used in idol worship.

There’s a pretty big difference between this and emasculation or idol worship, wouldn’t you say?

Since today there is no idol worship through sex (as far as I know), it would be permissible for same-sex relations to occur. Besides, these interpretations deal with a form of emasculation or idol worship. They do not apply to men, women, or other gender-types who are in loving, committed relationships like we see today.

There are other factors to consider here as well. For example, there is the belief that marriage should be as it is in the Bible. If that’s the case though, why do we outlaw polygamy and women can choose who they marry? Not to mention the definition of marriage and marriage roles have changed throughout the years, so it’s no surprise that it’s being changed in our day and age and “pro-marriage” activists shouldn’t be alarmed. And even if not always legally accepted or endorsed by religious establishments, same-sex relationships have been taking place for many, many years. There have been relationships between high-ranking clergymen and other men since the early days of the Church, but it was tolerated because of fear of worse sins, ones that at the time that were considered venereal.

Even during waves of religious upheaval, reformation, or resurgence, same-sex relationships flourished: Queen Elizabeth may have been a lesbian, and several members of her court were gay and able to get away with it due to their status. King James–of the Bible translation–actually had several relationships with men as well as women. And recently there was an article from The Boston Globe about two women who lived together and were treated as married…in 1807! So even if it’s not exactly legal, same-sex marriage is not exactly as new as cell phones.

This post is getting very long, so I’m going to continue this discussion in another one. I hope some of you who read this post found it informative and may have given you some food for thought. I don’t think it’ll sway anyone who’ll protest at Pride this weekend, but it may sway some people who are undecided on the issue. Or that it may prove helpful for those who want to try to reconcile homosexuality with religion.

Oh, and before you wonder what sort of religious authority I am, I can only say that I’m the son of two Conservative rabbis, I went to a Jewish day school from Grades 4-12, I’ve gone to synagogue for most of my life, and I still learn and keep in touch with my religion. So I may not be a rabbi or pastor, but I’ve done as much studying as some, and more than some others. I guess I can speak with some authority on these matters. What do you say?

*I will be screening the comments for offensive, inappropriate, or just plain rude comments. Be warned.*

It’s been a week since I decided to come out of the closet and reveal my sexuality. I’m happy to say that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve heard people tell me that they are proud of me for coming out, others have told me as long as I’m happy they don’t care. One friend said that while she found it incredible that we lived in a world where people had to make a big announcement in order to come out, but wished me luck nonetheless.

But I think my favorite reaction has been that of my close friends at school. They all saw my post on Facebook and gave it a Like (I can’t be sure, I got over 60 Likes on that one post), and when I saw them the next day in classes they just didn’t say a word. They didn’t need to. They just smiled, asked me how I was doing, and then we got to talking about the usual stuff. In a way, I think that’s what all LGBT people and those who support them wish for: a day when sexuality isn’t something that one has to hide or reveal. It’s just something that’s part of a person.

Now that I’ve come out though, I think I’ll be a bit more active in defending gay rights on my blog. A couple of gun-rights advocates had turned me off political issues for a while, but I think it’s time I resume ranting on what I feel matters, especially for gay rights. So get ready for a whole storm of political issues in between my updates on writing and school and my musings on writing and horror.

In fact, I think I’ll start on one now!

(See what being encouraging does to people?)

This year in Ohio, same-sex marriage is on the ballot. As someone who supports LGBT rights, I’m throwing my support in for anyone who wants to marry someone regardless of their sex. It’s only just right.

But besides that, there’s something else I want to share with you all. I’m bisexual. I’ve been bisexual for nearly 21 years (though I’ve only just recently realized it) and I’ll be bisexual for the rest of my life. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

For those of you who aren’t very well-versed in bisexuality (or in the LGBT community at all, for that matter), this only means that I am attracted to men as well as women. I don’t really have a preference or a set type. All I care about is that I’m happy with the person I’m with and if they’re happy with me. I’m not confused or unsure of which one I really like, as some–even members of the LGBT community–might think. I also am not confused, living a horrid lifestyle, or have the Devil whispering in my ear (I think he’d rather whisper in the ears of Assad or Putin than in mine). It’s a biological trait based on a combination of several genes, and there could be a good argument that it runs in my family.

Also, I’m not oversexed or always looking at guys and girls in a sexual way. If I’m oversexed it’s because I’m a healthy young man in college, and we’re all oversexed to some degree. Also, don’t flatter yourself. I don’t look at every person hoping and praying for a hook-up, including you. I’m not even sure what my type is, so don’t assume you’re it. And I’m also not looking to molest kids or brainwash kids. The monsters who molest kids are only looking for power over victims or because they can’t rise to the occasion (so to speak) with adults, so they target kids. And you can’t brainwash kids to be LGBT: like I said before, it’s genetic. If you’re kid is LGBT, it’s because they were that way at conception. And the more you try to prove me wrong or pray away the gay or whatever, the more you’ll find I’m right.

And the LGBT community is not a cabal or a bunch of bullies. If there’s a cabal, gay marriage would already be legal in every nation on earth and anti-gay rhetoric would result in prison sentences. Also, calling us bullies is saying that a small minority, maybe 10-20% of the population at the most, is more powerful than the heterosexual majority and is able to beat up straight people on the streets. I really don’t think that’s the reality. Do you?

I also don’t let my sexuality define me. I’m not that kid from Glee who everybody identifies as “the gay guy” or “the gay guy with the really high voice”. I identify more with the fact that I’m a horror writer or that I’m Jewish than I do with my sexuality. So if you start calling me “the bisexual horror writer”, I’ll counter that with “I’m a writer that just happens to be attracted to both men and women.” And most people wouldn’t realize my sexuality if they looked at me. They might realize I’m eccentric or not your ordinary college student. But my sexuality? I’d need to reveal it or be detected by an actual gaydar for people to realize it.

How did this post become a testimony for the fallacies with most anti-gay arguments and how people should treat me? I’m not sure, but I want to say that I’m happy to let people know finally about who I am and not have to keep it to myself like a disgusting burp. It’s just who I am, like my being a writer or Jewish or that I can make a conversation amusing and strange with just one sentence. Just one part of being me.

And if you don’t like what I am, if you believe differently about my sexuality, then that’s your choice. Just don’t leave hateful comments or try to tell me I can be cured or that I’m going to Hell. I don’t even believe in Hell! Judaism has no set definition of the afterlife. We’re more likely to be plagued by acid reflux than by an afterlife of fire and brimstone for our transgressions, and I’m already on antacids. But if you want to try to change me or make me feel bad for being who I am, then I don’t think we should associate too much, online or offline.

Finally, I would like to close this post with a big, hearty thank you for all of you who’ve supported me and continue to support me. The love I’ve received and the acceptance of who I am is overwhelming, and I’m happy to be surrounded by so many understanding and loving people. It’s great to be who I am and not punished for it. So I bid you adieu till next time, my Followers of Fear (which might be later today, who knows?). And let me say to all those who are suffering from bigotry, it gets better. Don’t despair, because there are so many people like you and we all love you regardless of who you’re attracted to. All you have to do is reach out, and we’ll be there for you.

In the meantime, please enjoy this awesome video: Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. It repeats a lot of what I’ve been saying here, and it is an anthem of love, truth, and hope for so many people out there. Please watch it with me. Thank you.