What being part of a minority is like.

Excellent JPost op-ed by a Jerusalem 20-something.

Why I’ll be marching this Friday

by Yonatan Leibowitz

The highlights I’m pointing out – because I’m kinda tired of reading and talking about the parade – are more about this guy’s experience with his sexuality.

“On November 5, 1995 I wore a kippa all day for the first time in my life, and I’ve done so ever since on the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

I do this for two reasons: because the day has religious significance for me, but, more importantly, because I was shocked by the hatred Israeli society exhibited toward religious people in the days following the murder, and I wanted to show my solidarity with this group which was facing such hostility.

I wanted to understand how it feels to be looked at differently walking down the street, and being seen for what I looked like rather than who I am as a person.

I’m grown up now, and have in this process learned – not only on Rabin memorial days – what being part of a minority is like.

I am gay. You might find it surprising that the hardest part about being gay is actually not saying that to one’s parents, or one’s boss, or one’s high-school friends; or coming out day after day every time I meet someone new who asks if I have a girlfriend, or writing “I am gay” in the newspaper – though none of these are easy.

The hardest part is saying “I am gay” to myself, and realizing that all the negative connotations of the word “gay” that we are all brought up to assume, all the stigmas that society associates with the word, do not reflect who I am.

If walking down the street with a kippa taught me a whole new set of interactions, that’s nothing compared to the kind of looks and comments I get every time I walk hand-in-hand in Jerusalem with the man I love.”






Whadya got: