Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In the Hands of Fate

When I first acknowledged the fact that I am gay I was crushed by the realization that the tradition, symbolism and joy of the Chuppah would no longer be available to me. For a long time I thought I was destined to be alone, to live a life of shame and celibacy. After some time I recognized that being frum and being gay did not require emotional and physical solitude. I began to date, to try and find that one guy with whom I would spend the rest of my life.
The dating period In the Orthodox community in which I was raised is, more often than not, very short. An extreme example of this is a friend of mine that got engaged after one week of dating. The more common time frame would be two, maybe three, months of dating.
One of the character traits my friends look for when dating is that their significant other be Hashkafically similar (have the same view on issues of Jewish law and practice). This makes sense. How can you possibly marry someone with whom you disagree on fundamental matters?
When I first began dating I had my priorities out of order. I was trying to find someone with whom I could settle down, regardless of their Hashkafic outlook. In fact, I dated more gentiles and non-observant Jews than I did men that were on the same page as me. None of those relationships worked out. It took me…well, it took me too long, but I finally understood that I needed to find someone with the same basic approach to Judaism and life. And then I didn’t think that such a person existed. Until I met my ex. He showed me that there were other gay frum men looking to lead a life of Torah observance and love one another as truly and deeply as possible. It didn’t work out between us, but I left that relationship with the knowledge that my ideal mate is out there somewhere.
Still, I struggle. There aren’t many Jewish men who are Torah observant and out of the closet. I’ve found myself prioritizing aspects of Judaism and defining my own Hashkafic worldview. This way I know where I stand in Jewish observance. I also know in what areas I would feel comfortable becoming stricter—and if need be, laxer—in my observance.
There is someone out there for all of us, even the gay frum Jews. I know that. I believe in that. And it is this knowledge and belief that boosts my confidence over living as a gay frum Jew.I may not ever have a Chuppah or a marriage in the most traditional manner, but I will have love and a beautiful Jewish home.