It is the eternal irony of the writer that once he sits down he find little to write.
Writing is a dying art, it seems, and bloviating on video without the filter of the written word is the preferred medium for most writers. Anyone who does write words anymore is doing it to accuse other people of sins, or sell you a product.
So why am I here, dusting off this old gimmicky website to start the stalest of all projects, a personal blog?
Well it’s because I would like to try writing the truth. A version of the truth. Some sort of thing that is truth adjacent.
I have always been told, and held the conceit, that I was meant for bigger and better things. It was communicated early to me that I was gifted, and not just by my parents or school. Every single person for whom I have ever worked has told me in some way or another that I am special.
I find it irritating.
If there is anything special about me, it is that I am especially stubborn and especially self assured. The rest is just the implementation of those things.
From a young age, I have been making terrible choices that ruined my shit. At the age of 13, I chose not only to tell my whole Orthodox Jewish community that I was gay, but I also chose to attend high school there, and become a full vegetarian. Vegetarianism is not popular in the Orthodox Jewish community, where meat is the main event at shabbos dinner and the customs of slaughtering and serving meat are thousands of years old. Gay men are similarly not popular in the Orthodox Jewish community, and honestly I’m not sure which alienated me most from my peers.
At the same time, I can’t discount that my instincts for self preservation at the time actually led me to the right choice. Even as I feel a twinge of regret of what could have been, I realize I am forgetting how unsafe i felt at home at 13, and how much I thrived, or thought I did, in the structure of my Orthodox Jewish private school, Maimonides School in Brookline Massachusetts.
I think my biggest strength is that at some point very early on I became convinced of my own good judgment, and from then on I let very few people influence my decisions through an appeal to authority.
Normally, if you go through life ignoring people’s advice all the time and alienating everyone around you in the process, it is an easy sign that you are both in the wrong, and likely engaging in self-destructive behavior.
But this just simply isn’t true for gay men. Gay men are special.
For thousands of years it has been tradition to suppress male homosexuals with violence. I myself have made many decisions in order to minimize the chances of being a victim of violence, and I have succeeded wildly. Most people don’t understand that even with modern piecemeal acceptance of gay men, it is still very clear that we should expect violence from society as our very existence begins with a provocation.
I am a special gay man, because I thrived in a fundamentalist religious environment that proclaimed that gay men are abominations. The Torah says quite clearly, twice, that men having sex with other men is an abomination, and both participants should be put to death. From the age of 13-18, I swam, drank, and studied in those waters as an openly gay teen boy, mostly because nobody had the sense to properly prevent it.
To be totally clear, half of the classes at Maimonides School are classes in Jewish texts interpreted from this perspective that they are all either the word of God or authoritative as written by prophetic and unquestionable Rabbis. My good grades, my college prospects, and my entire future rested on internalizing the Jewish religion and getting it all right on tests. When they sent my grades to the colleges I applied to, they included how well I studied the Torah as my “Chumash” grade, in addition to my studies in Jewish Oral Law (“Talmud”), Jewish Texts of The Prophets (“Navi”), and Modern Hebrew. They managed this while still preparing us for college by keeping us in school from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“If a man lies with a male* as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Leviticus, Chapter 20 verse 13.
Most of the time people quote Leviticus 18:22, which is suspicious because it’s exactly the same but doesn’t include the explicit commandment to murder gay men:
“You shall not lie with a male* as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus, Chapter 18 verse 22
Orthodox Jews, especially Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, believe God wrote this in his own words. The absolutely most important core belief of Orthodox Judaism is that every word of the Torah is the word of God.
I want you to understand how terrifying that is for gay men who find themselves reaching maturity in the Jewish community. The Orthodox Jews have all the power, and they believe in a perfect world God would prefer gay men be murdered in retaliation for having sex
Do I think they would murder me? Not really. But will they silence me? Make it impossible for me to get a job? Tell lies about me to anyone who will listen? Of course. These people, Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, still teach their congregants every day, adults and children alike, that I deserve to be murdered. That God thinks I deserve to be murdered. They practice this terror on maybe-gay children and teens as a form of conversion therapy. They terrorize gay men into hiding forever.
So why shouldn’t I have a blog. I’ve spent a long time cultivating my freedom to express myself, and at this point I have become comfortable enough to do so.
Sometimes everyone around you IS wrong, and the temerity to love yourself in spite of them is exactly like enjoying yourself dancing in traffic wearing nothing but your underwear.
So this blog, and my dancing, are dedicated to Maimonides School in Brookline, a place where they are still terrorizing gay children and teens at this very moment. I’ll stop when they do.
*Lately I have seen “well meaning” people try to change the translation of this word “male” to mean “human male child” to try to whitewash the text and pretend it is actually a prohibition on homosexual child rape. These people never quote Leviticus 22:13, the verse that would condemn the victim in that scenario to death, because that would ruin their mistranslation. This is not even to mention that there is no basis to claim “zachar”, the world that means “male”, should translate specifically to “human male child”. These people are not being helpful.