Jewish Journal

Parallel Universes

by Brandon Gellis

September 7, 2010 | 4:39 pm

I identify as being gay and Jewish. I do not however know which if any, I identify with more. With growing interest in blogging, I’ve gained a greater inclination towards reading more blogs, and being more observant of Internet discussions. Recently, I read this blog, http://gayspirituality.typepad.com/blog/2004/02/on_being_gay_an.html, which made me think of the “parallel universes” I live in. After thinking about this for a bit I thought why not blog about it? Growing up in a richly Jewish neighborhood I blended pretty well with those around me, but attending a highly diverse high school and college, I became a minority, in a number of ways.

Prior to high school I was taunted and called names like “fag” and “queer,” once high school rolled around the bullying ceased and criticism was more in the form of looks, whispers, and questions about my sexuality. Not until the last 7-8 years did I have the foresight to became more proactive about gay rights, equitability, and even consider how being gay may be an “issue.” Now living in a much smaller community, which noticeably houses more gays than Jews, I have become more sensitive to parallels between being gay and being Jewish.

Before, being surrounded by so many Jews, enabled my naïveté or hid from me the realities that some folks don’t understand Jews like they don’t understand gays, like they don’t understand inter-racial couples, families that adopt multi-national children, single-parent families (and unfortunately the list goes on and on). For me it all boils down to one basic question or sentiment, “Just how scary is the unknown, to you?” 

I think many may agree that a great amount of the world’s criticism/judgments/scare-factor is based on fear and not knowing. I have noticed that while previously, I never felt persecuted or judged for being openly Jewish, as I have at times for being openly gay, I have noticed a culture change where I live, work, and play. For the most part, diversity is respected in my community, there are definitely times when some people lose perspective, choose to conveniently misstate information, or out-right neglect to be inclusive. 

I do see many parallels between the two worlds I live in. I see the same acceptance, indifference, and judgment around me, just on a clearer, more easily distinguishable scale now.

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