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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 1/20/06

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Dear Rachel,

Regarding the chronicle from the anonymous parent of a gay child (11-18), I would like to give you my input on this subject.

I too am the mother of a gay young man, an Orthodox gay young man – a wonderful young man. Of course I wish my son would marry and have a family, but he was born gay and I have to live and accept this fact. At a young age I knew already that he was different. Children are born gay – they are not created gay. No outside forces can make them gay. Scientists have proven that there are special gay genes passed down through the mother. My son is a gentleman – he would never think of marrying a girl just to protect his name or reputation, or that of his family. Too many Jewish Orthodox families push their “different” children into marriages to hide the truth – and in the end produce sad bitter spouses and mixed up children, many of who have written you sad desperate letters.

Being gay is difficult for an Orthodox Jew, and my son at times has told me that maybe he should think about not being Orthodox, since he is not accepted by the religion as such. But I tell him that he is religious because he believes in Hashem and the Torah, and what other people think is not important. I tell him “do as many mitzvos as you can.”

By the way, my other children and my daughters-in-law and sons-in-law also love my son because he is such a fine person, a big baal-tzedaka. Many times I have had at my Shabbos table Orthodox young people who, when their families found out they were gay, disowned them. I could never do that to my son. If he was a thief, if he committed adultery, I could distance myself from him, but not for something he has no power over. Like I said before, he was born that way.

Don’t encourage gay people to hide their inclination and make believe that they are straight. They will only hurt those who love them.

Anonymous parent with an honest input

Dear Parent,

With all due respect to your very special calling in life (caring mom), your endearment of the child that you carried and nurtured under your heart has led you to embrace a totally distorted perspective of his “condition.” Somehow, somewhere you have sadly been fed a completely false premise – that homosexuality is genetic, and the absurdity that it is inherited via the mother! For the record, there is absolutely no scientific evidence (after all the exhaustive attempts at studying the issue of genetics in this area) that proves homosexuality to be genetically inherited.

Please don’t misunderstand – in no way do I suggest that your love for your son is misguided (nor that you should coerce him to marry before he is ready to). On the contrary, your strong feelings are most admirable, and you are indeed fortunate that your child is one you can be proud of. He sounds truly like a gem of a human being.

Precisely because of your deep caring and the fact that you are a G-d fearing religious family, you owe it to yourself and to your son to leave no stone unturned in pursuing a course of proper psychotherapeutic evaluation with a really competent psychotherapist to determine whether there is any serious possibility of change. To say “don’t need it don’t want it is fixed and unchangeable was born with it ” may be perfectly acceptable for the vast majority of people in the general world, but it is folly and contrary to the teachings within our Orthodox framework.

HETERO-sexuality is our natural state, from which it is possible to become diverted in childhood. In psychological terms, this would be defined as a failure to reach full psychosexual maturation. By no means is this considered to be an unbreakable disorder – unless one is in serious political or psychological denial.

No one is claiming to have easy answers or quick cures. We are all dealt challenges in life that we are expected to rise to and overcome, rather than resign ourselves to making peace with the devil. You are certainly to be commended for doing the right thing in accepting and loving your son regardless of his struggle. Homosexual behavior should be condemned, not the person who adheres to Torah values despite his foreign inclination.

G-d’s commandment for us to steer clear of “abominable” doings should alert us to the fact that the temptation can present itself. For otherwise G-d would have had no reason to lay down the law.

Thank you for sharing your pride and your pain. May you be blessed with happiness, healing and an unburdened heart.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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