Jewish Journal

They call me “One Jew”

by Brandon Gellis

July 7, 2010 | 7:52 am

Well, my mother does anyhow. In this, my first effort as a Jewish, gay, 30-year-old blogger, does it really come as any surprise that I begin this exodus writing about my mother?

But, enough about my mom, we’ll get back to her soon enough, trust me. My name is Brandon and my hubby and I moved to Laramie, Wyoming in the summer of 2005. As few people know Laramie for the 1895 imprisonment of Butch Cassidy and more for the 1998 brutal slaying of Matthew Shepard, this move did not come without reservations. Going back, as a frosh in college I remember thinking, “Wow, I could never live in a place like that,” especially after growing up in L.A. Jump forward seven years, and low and behold Mark, said hubby, and I both embarked on an adventure to the Wild West that has served far more interesting than we ever could have anticipated.

Laramie is a really nice place to live. Its very family oriented, educated, you wouldn’t believe the year-round outdoor sports, and while I believe it is very libertarian, the town, the University, and the community have made great strides to overcome the atrocities of 1998 and in Matthew’s memory, are constantly working more towards acceptance and expanding civil liberties. More to come on Laramie later.

Getting back to my nickname “One Jew.” Upon announcing our move to Laramie, or the Wild West as I may refer to it from time-to-time, my mother in her Jewish motherly wisdom announced, “But you’ll be the only Jew there…” To which my brother graciously added, “…and gay. Oy!” And, so began my mother’s attempts to not so passively convince Mark it was about time to convert.

To be honest, I am not the only Jew in Laramie, or the only gay Jew. Living in Laramie has opening up my eyes to the realization, that as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, one shouldn’t judge a whole community but the acts of a few select individuals. And, believe it or not, my mom really likes Laramie, so it must have some things going for it.

More to come from One Jew and Laramie soon. If there is anything you’d like to know, just let it out.

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