Religion and Queer Youth

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“A sickness that was not visible like smallpox but no less dangerous and contagious a sickness of the mind, the Homosexual a person who demands an intimate relationship with members of their own sex” “Homosexual behaviour is harmful not only to society, but more importantly, to the individuals who engage in that behaviour” “You don’t need to be in the Pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when Gays can serve openly in the military” “People who are trapped in the Homosexual lifestyle, their constant rebellion with order, with their natural order, with natural law” “There’s one characteristic trait of the Gay Agenda in the public school system, it’s this, it’s sneaky it’s usually designed to look like something else it’s disguised as something else” “The reason that HIV was invented as the cause of AIDS was a way to get research money” “We have to understand, barbarians need to be educated they need to be disciplined and just because someone feels it or thinks it, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to go down that road” I went to a religious school called Yavneh it’s in Elsternwick, it’s a Jewish school and not having other friends in my year, or above that I knew were gay themself meant that I felt very alone um, so I think, I think in that respect the religious community, was almost a restriction on coming out or not coming out earlier, I suppose. I think that I’ve always had a lot of problems with religious opinions and the way that religious people look at the world in a lot of different aspects and I remember when I was doing my Coming Of Age Ceremony and I was a vegetarian at the time and I had so many arguments with the Rabbi. My parents are very, they’re quite religious So when I came out, the first thing they said was “It’s not how God made you” and so, they’ve kind of, yeah, not very supportive in that sense. I was born in Greece and my background is Greek-Filipino I’m baptised Greek Orthodox but I was raised in primarily a Catholic kinda context and setting so coming to terms with the fact that I like boys and that I also like girls was not only confusing for myself but yeah it was just a bit of a shock to the system. and so I’ve always had a few problems with the way religious people see things and I know that it’s quite defined in the religious community that you can’t be gay, and it’s a sin, and it doesn’t work and I once spoke about it with the Rabbi’s Wife and I said “You know, what’s the deal with that?” Um, “What’s up with that? and she basically just said, “With Men, they’re wasting sperm and it needs to be made to procreate” and things like that and I said “Okay, what about Women?” She said, “It’s more frowned upon.” Like a lot of people around you might say that it’s wrong and whatnot, but, if you think it’s right, then you should just be who you are. And I’ve always felt that there was a strong place for me in the Jewish Community regardless of anything especially sexuality, but yeah, I go to a Jewish Youth Movement I’m heavily involved with that, I’m a leader there and I go to a Jewish School, I have mostly Jewish friends also non-Jewish friends, but mostly I’m surrounded by Jewish people constantly so yeah, I definitely feel I have a strong connection with Judaism and a strong connection with the religion in a different kind of way and more with the culture than anything. I think I had it relatively easy compared to most people and I felt quite fortunate because of that as I have got quite a religious family they’re Orthodox as well but I think it’s sad to say that I was fortunate because I think everybody should have to have the same easy ride that I did there were a few months where I think my family had to adjust to it and I think I was obviously aware challenges they were gonna go through I think that my parents went through a phase where they had to almost mourn the loss of the life they thought I was gonna have as a Straight person they had to have time to educate themselves on what being Gay is because I think at the same time when someone comes out they’re aware of their sexuality they’ve had time to process it and now they’ve got to allow others around them go through the same period that they go through. My name is Fred Morgan I’m the Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel everything here hinges on what you’re willing to allow the text to say we’re aware you’re going to say “The text no longer speaks loudly to us anymore, we feel the text just doesn’t apply in this instance anymore” and that’s always tempered by what’s actually happening in the wider society. My name is Carolyn Francis and I’m a Baptist Minister the trouble I guess for me, is that I think at the time of the writing of those scriptures there was really no sense of sexual orientation the way we understand it today there was an understanding of sexual practice but, as we have grown in our knowledge through science and other research I think we’ve come to understand sexuality differently. It’s definitely getting better there are a lot more progressive religious faiths out there there is a lot of the conservatives out there but the important thing is that there are small pockets of change here and there not only in Catholicism, but in other religions. I must, it’s really struck me that though there are huge discussions about Gays and Lesbians and gender issues in religious circles When I just mention these things to my children they’re perplexed, they say “What’s the problem?” I think religion is a very personal thing and it’s not for anyone else to define whether you belong there or not if you feel a connection with it that’s gonna remain I mean, I’m not Gay above my religion I think that my identity is comprised of all these factors on a pretty equal level and I’m not ‘Liat the Gay, who happens to be a Jew’ I’m ‘Liat the Gay Jew, or the Jewish Gay Person’ you know, and that’s just how I am and it’s important to me to remain that way and there was a brief moment when I was unsure and everyone’s gonna experience that but, don’t let go of your identity and don’t push aside factors of what make you, you just because you’ve discovered something else.

 

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