Which Eye Should I Look In?

March 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm 5 comments

The following is a guest post by Amalya- the teenage daughter of an Orthodox Lesbian mother.

“Which eye should I look in?”

It was not the first time I had been asked that question. My eyes are crossed and one tends to wander off while the other is focused. People often cannot tell if I am looking at them or the person behind them. Sometimes someone will ask me which eye they should focus on, which one I use primarily. The truth is that I use them both, just not at the same time.

Sometimes I use my right eye, and I see myself in shul, surrounded by people who share a large part of my life with me. People that dress the way I dress and eat the food that I eat. We have been raised the same way and understand what it is like to live the unique lifestyle of an Orthodox Jew. We can whine together about the difficulties of a selective diet and obligations that feel trivial or outdated. Here I am supported for my belief and dedication.

But there is something they can’t identify with. Because sometimes I use my left eye and I see something that my Jewish community does not understand. I see Provincetown , MA where hundreds of children of LGBT parents gather for one week every summer. These people understand what it is like to live with a secret, or to live in fear of prejudice and bigotry. And we gather to support and learn from one another. This is one place where I don’t feel like I have a secret. But still, out of the hundreds of families who congregate on the tip of Cape Cod every year, I have yet to find a Jew like me.
I use both my eyes, but I have not been able to make them work together.

“Please,” I responded, “look in them both.”

Entry filed under: Building Queer Jewish Community, frum, frum queer, Homophobia, Identity, Judaism and Homosexuality, Living in the Orthodox World, Orthodox, orthodox judaism, orthodox lesbian, Personal Stories. Tags: .

Video of segments from “Being Gay in The Orthodox World: A conversation with Members of the YU Community” Rabbi Yuval Cherlow on Pesach Sheini and the need for inclusion in the Jewish community

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. queerbasyisroel  |  March 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    This is amazing, Amalya. Thank you for sharing this with us. My partner and I are beginning the process of creating a family and it’s useful to hear from people who’ve actually lived the experience of being frum and the child of a religious gay or lesbian couple. I wish you luck in your continued journey to live an integrated life that honors your frumkeit and your family.

    Reply
  • 2. Shlomit  |  March 20, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Hello Amalya! Know that you are not alone – there are families like yours in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Israel – we are in so many places. Our daughter is almost 9 and we live in a modern Orthodox community in Long Island. Coming out has it’s ups and downs but I am happy to say more ups than downs. More and more people know we are out there and so many have shown great kindness. Just wanted to thank you for your words and let you know you are not the only one. All the best and have a great Pesach!

    Shlomit

    Reply
  • 3. queerbasyisroel  |  March 20, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Shlomit – Are you on the Tirtzah e-mail listserve? My partner and I live not terribly far from you and would love to connect since we are trying to become parents.

    Reply
  • 4. Ditty  |  March 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you Amalya,
    That was most insightful and i’m glad you shared. As Shlomit already mentioned, there are lots of us around and there are lots of tricks to this ‘game’ of life. I hope you do find someone to share your secret with and sooner rather then later because it will help you immensely, secrets are hard to bare let alone one of this magnitude… good luck.
    Ditty

    Reply
  • 5. Esther Sherr  |  March 22, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Beautifully stated. Well done. Your mom should be proud to have such an insightful articulate daughter.

    ‘Shkoyach!

    Reply

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We are a community of frum queer women who gather to celebrate and study our yiddishkeit. We are committed to the value of shleimut (wholeness) and to supporting one another in observing a meaningful, integrated, honest and joyful Jewish life.

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