Jewish Journal

Protecting Our Youth From Homophobic Messages

by Lia Mandelbaum

May 17, 2012 | 5:10 pm

Here's a metaphor...It is most safe to just step back and observe a fire, rather than to step into it... :-)

Since President Obama made the choice to come out and show his support for gay marriage, his statement has pervaded the media.  Everywhere I turn, I am witnessing discussions regarding marriage equality.  While I am really proud of my president, and have been so touched by the level of support I have observed coming from all directions, I am also having some deeply rooted internal pain being triggered.  A lot of the commentary I am reading by those who are very evidently against marriage equality is truly painful to take in.  While I am able to step back and let the pain go, I cannot help but think about the LGBT youth in this country, and how all of the harmful messages may be affecting them, as they come at them from left and right.  What about those who are struggling over being in the closet, observing family and friends, making statements such as “I would disown my child if they were gay,” “I don’t want my children brainwashed to believe that homosexuality is a valid option,” “same sex marriage is a desecration of marriage.”  I believe that these conversations are harmful to all of our youth, regardless of what their sexual orientation may be.  It may make children who are not gay, no longer feel safe to just completely be themselves, out of the fear of receiving the same form of rejection they are witnessing.  It is so important that we let our youth know they have someone to openly talk to about what they’re witnessing, and help to protect them from being tainted by the hateful messages.  I believe that it is also very important, that when we talk with our youth, to make sure to not demonize those who may be demonizing them, similar to Mahatma Gandhi’s message ” An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

I have stepped back and decided to observe what is happening in the media, and take it out of the context of being all about Marriage Equality.  As I observe the endless fights between those who are for and opposed to marriage equality, I see how easy it is to get stuck in the fights, and continually loop around one another.  It is kind of like a boxing match that sometimes does not end.  I want to mention, that I am by no means devaluing the beautiful support of those who are for marriage equality.  It has been healing for me to witness. 

Here is an example of a harmful passage I read in an article:

The “evolution” of Obama—and Vice President Joe Biden, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and so many prominent Democrats (and libertarian Republicans)—toward accepting “same-sex marriage,” is really a story of the corruption of modern liberalism and, indeed, America’s slide into moral decadence. The chattering classes dwell obsessively on politics—and certainly Obama’s capitulation was driven by pressure from his well-funded “gay” activist base. But America’s precipitous moral decline—represented by the slow, and then rapid, embrace of evil (organized sin) by its leaders—tells a more important story: America is losing its goodness because we are leaving God behind. 
- Christian Newswire, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH)

I am not making a judgment over this passage, but rather observing how on an energetic level, I can feel it being driven by anger, fear and blame. 

As I have observed within some of the discussions, where individuals speak about love, Jesus, G-d, the Bible and equality, I cannot help but notice the negative energy being associated with them, that is looping and permeating within the context that they are being used.  I imagine that this negative energy is the same energy, which has reared its toxic head throughout some of our darkest moments in history.  It is like a wildfire that takes its own shape and size.  I have found that it is crucial to step back and observe it out of context and look at it as a single and massive force and how it influences our behaviors and quality of life.  We must question it and understand it.  Ask ourselves “What is it about?”  “Why does it exist?” “How can we stop it?”  If we must identify it by a name, I would say that the best word to describe it is hatred.  I believe that we are born into the world as innocent beings.  How does hatred manage to taint our innocence?  How does it harm our mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health?  How long are we going to feed into it?  When have we had enough?  “Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?”

The less I let that negative energy inside me, the more healthy and alive I feel.  It is not welcome, and when it rears its ugly head, I snuff it out.

And again, remember to protect our youth.  Protect yourself.

The Kids Are Listening:  LGBTQ Foster Youth

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Tera “Nova Jade* Greene is a professional lesbian of color and Jew by Choice.  She is a producer of music and film, a renowned DJ and always finds herself in the midst of...

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