The Stranger Within Your Gates: Answering Questions about Bais Abraham’s Recent Eshel Shabbat by Rabbi Hyim Shafner

On a recent Shabbat, Bais Abraham hosted speakers from Eshel (www.eshelonline.org), a national organization building communities of support, learning, and inclusion for Orthodox lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews. The three speakers were LGBT Orthodox individuals, two of whom came to observance later in life and one of whom grew up Chassidic. They each shared their personal journey of what it is like for them to be LGBT in the Orthodox community today. A recent Orthodox rabbinic effort to show compassion and support for LGBT Orthodox members of the Jewish family is reflected in the Statement of Principles signed by over 200 Orthodox rabbis. It can be found at http://statementofprinciplesnya.blogspot.com/ .

Over the past two weeks, I received many questions about our Shabbat program from people from different parts of the Orthodox and general Jewish communities. Here are some of the questions and my responses:

Q. Why don’t you just keep quiet about this? If someone is gay, let them sit in shul like anyone else. Why should we bring this out into the open and discuss it?

To remain silent is to reject people. We tend to demonize and stigmatize what we do not know. Individuals who fall prey to social stigmas are forced to feel like outsiders because no one will talk about their issues. Such individuals keep their conditions hidden but the cost will be that they do not feel part of the community. They will hear loud and clear what people implicitly feel, that they are flawed. In addition, there will be no forum or opportunity in which to educate others in the community about the suffering of the stigmatized individuals, thus there is no possibility for sensitivity to their experiences. This can result in a feeling of rejection, and psychological, if not actual, aloneness. When we ignore the challenges of people in our community and ignore our own conscious or unconscious rejection of them, we cannot expect them to feel included, and we cannot love them as ourselves. This is the case for LGBT Orthodox Jews.

Q. How can you feature something that is a violation of Jewish law?

Halacha (Jewish law) is, of course, of central importance to us as Orthodox Jews. Our Shabbat program, however, was not designed to focus on halacha. That is something that that every Orthodox LGBT person discusses privately with his or her rabbi. Our program was about moving toward a culture in which LGBT Jews do not have to feel excluded from the Orthodox community. It was to find a place of compassion and inclusion, so LGBT Orthodox Jews do not feel like outsiders, which historically has led to losing them entirely to Yiddishkeit, or worse.

Before we judge anyone who is LGBT or condemn them in the abstract, we owe it to ourselves to humanize this topic and hear real people tell their very real stories, or else we may violate the saying in Pirkey Avot, Al tidan es chavero ad shetagia li’mikomo. Do not judge another person until you have been in their place. Many would like to pretend that there are no LGBT people in our midst, but the weekend not only showed us that they are members of our community, but also underscored that they are our neighbors, our children, our brothers, our sisters, and our friends. They are in the stories presented to us, devout individuals who truly value Torah and mitzvot.

Q. Rabbi, does having this panel serve any religious purpose for those of us who are not LGBT? What can the rest of us learn from this about our own avodat Hashem (service to God)?

I found it inspiring that when faced with something that would make it so difficult to be observant and to remain within the Orthodox community–a community with little sensitivity to the feelings of those who are gay–they choose, despite feeling alienated, to remain in the community. Their love for Torah, for mitzvot, for Hashem and for the Jewish People is so strong that though it would be much easier to leave Orthodoxy, they do not. Among other things, we can learn from LGBT Orthodox Jews about commitment to Torah even in very difficult circumstances.

Q. If someone LGBT wants to be in our community, do you expect us to accept them? To give them aliyot?

In many shuls, even people who violate weighty mitzvot of various types between humans and G-d and between humans and other humans, are welcomed. Why should we treat the LGBT Jews any differently? Indeed it could be argued that not keeping kosher or other important mitzvot is a choice, and LGBT, as we now know, is not a choice. If it were, the vast majority of Orthodox LGBT people would choose not to be LGBT. With regard to people who are transgender, the halachic question arises with regard to whether to give them aliyot and where they should sit in shul. There are various opinions among poskim as to the status of the gender of transgender people, depending upon where in the process of transition they are.

Q. If you accept someone who is gay with a partner into the shul (since having a partner implies that they are intimately involved), then you are accepting something immoral. If you do away with standards of morality, then what’s to prevent you from welcoming a brother married to a sister?

The Rambam (Shmonah Pirakim, 6) includes sexual violations in the category of ritual mitzvot that have nothing to do with morality. Therefore, just because the Torah forbids both homosexual sexual acts and incest does not mean that they are morally equivalent, though both are halachically forbidden. We can say homosexuality is forbidden but we cannot say it presents a slippery moral slope.

Orthodox communities don’t have a custom of judging unfavorably what people are doing in their intimate lives. If we walk past a couple’s bedroom and the beds are pushed together, we assume they have followed halacha in terms of their intimate lives. We do not question who does and does not go to the mikvah and we assume that anyone who has any halachic challenges in their intimate lives is seeking the proper hadracha (guidance) in this in the way they carry out the complexities of their challenges.

Q. Isn’t treating a gay couple (with children) the same as other families in our shul a slippery slope?

As Orthodox Jews we all try our best to adhere to the halacha in it’s entirety in our desire to best serve Hashem, and we acknowledge that our fellow Torah-observant Jews strive to do the same or grow continually in that direction. That being said, it is not our responsibility or objective to oversee or judge the quality of everyone’s observance, especially in their private lives. Rather than looking to anyone’s private life, which is ultimately between those two people and, if Torah-observant, their Rabbi, let us rather enjoy and respect what is going on in their living rooms: welcoming guests, being careful with kashrut, not speaking loshon hara, honoring their fellow Jew, and raising Torah-centered families with Torah-centered values. Throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater by rejecting them, serves no purpose. This is a reality in our community and we need to start taking fundamental steps of inclusion and not persecution and/or condemnation.

Q. Won’t having gays in shul influence others to experiment with their sexuality and perhaps decide to be gay?

It is quite clear that people do not just decide to be LGBT. This is especially so of religious people. All of our participants testified to being born gay. Who indeed would choose to be gay and have to deal with the inner turmoil and alienation that they described?

Q. Why not suggest gay people get married to members of the opposite gender and stay in the closet?

Many gay Orthodox Jews do marry people of the opposite gender, hoping Hashem will perform a miracle and make it work, but alas, to no avail. We are who God made us. The pressure within the Orthodox community that is upon them, as we keep fixing them up with people of the opposite gender, as we keep assuming that no one is gay, pushes person after person into heterosexual relationships that only end up with both partners deeply hurt. Let’s stop assuming that every person who has not gotten married is looking for a heterosexual shidduch. It can lead to devastating results.

In sum, in most Orthodox communities today, LGBT members face rejection. Instead, imagine an Orthodox community that says to them, we understand you are LGBT and we understand the challenges you face as you try to lead an Orthodox life. Stay in the community. We accept you as a member of our family. Instead of leaving because you feel no compassion from us, stay and build a frum home, feel part of our community, be as whole with your Creator, with the Torah, and the Jewish people as you can. We are here to support you, not judge you. None of us are tzadikim.

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42 Responses to The Stranger Within Your Gates: Answering Questions about Bais Abraham’s Recent Eshel Shabbat by Rabbi Hyim Shafner

  1. Reb Yid says:

    “It is quite clear that people do not just decide to be LGBT.”

    That may or may not be true for G, B, and T, but it is certainly not necessarily correct for L. Women display a much higher degree of erotic plasticity than men, and so their prefered sexual outlet is more malleable than that of men.

  2. Michael Ben Av says:

    Whether being LGB is a choice (and how free that choice may be) is not black and white. There is a spectrum – for some it may be almost “hard-wired”, while for others it is a developed taste.

    I don’t think we can totally dismiss the concern that conveying acceptance will increase prevalence.

  3. Chava says:

    Thank you for this post. People in the community need to have a better understanding, and hopefully inclusion, of the LGBT community. Thank you.

  4. Ben says:

    “The Rambam (Shmoneh Pirkim, 6) includes sexual violations in the category of ritual mitzvot that have nothing to do with morality. Therefore, just because the Torah forbids both homosexual sexual acts and incest does not mean that they are morally equivalent, though both are halachically forbidden. We can say homosexuality is forbidden but we cannot say it presents a slippery moral slope.”
    Rabbi Shafner, did you look in the Moreh for Rambam’s words there about the issur ervah? He says explicitly that homosexual relations is naturally immoral (as does Ramban and Rabbeinu Nissim Gaon). Rambam also includes them under the various issurei ervah that bnei noach are chayev for, which he assumes includes a list of issurim a ben noach could come to rationally understand. I think Rambam in Shemoneh Perakim is referring to the other issurei ervah, as opposed to the six he says bnei noach are chayev in.

  5. Ben says:

    It can be found in the third chelek chapter 49. He writes “The reason behind the prohibition of homosexuality
    and carnal intercourse with beasts is very clear. If in the
    natural way the act is too base to be performed except when needed,how much more base is it if performed in an unnatural manner, and only for the sake of pleasure.”

  6. Just how do you intend to make your shul “gay friendly”?
    Are you going to advertise that gay congregants won’t be mocked when attending services? One would hope that this is a basic expectation, not a special feature of membership. Are you going to have community activities and construct a float to participate in the local Gay Pride parade? What exactly will you do to advertise that you are gay friendly? Will you do the same for people who drive on Shabbos? How about those who knowingly cheat on taxes (also described as an abomination, just like homosexual intercourse)?
    On a practical level, where will the gay man sit in your shul? Assuming you still have a token mechitzah he has a problem. He can’t sit on the women’s side for obvious reasons but if the purpose of the mechitzah is to keep men from seeing women for reasons of sexual distraction then how can he sit with the men?
    And your differentiation between incest and homosexual intercourse is specious. Forget the halachic codes, the verses of the Torah express open disgust with both behaviours. how can you ignore that?

    • Guest Post says:

      I think a Shul is made accepting to people through attitude and culture. A Shul does not have a culture of welcoming if it only welcomes certain kinds of people. Say people that are observant or that are thought to be potential baaly tishuvah. A culture of welcoming is welcoming to all. Even non jewish homeless people who come in for food.
      Rabbi Hyim Shafner

      • Okay, so by all means run an open, empathic shul that welcomes everyone equally. I would like to think that all Orthodox shuls would do this despite adequate evidence to the contrary.
        But again, why exactly do you seem obsessed with making homosexuals, of all possible groups, especially welcome and again, how do you intent to do that?

      • Guest Post says:

        I do it with lots of groups.
        RHS

  7. Mr. Cohen says:

    Sefer HaMidot, chapter Banim, paragraph 41:
    A Jew who had a sinful physical relationship with a Gentile woman, or with another man, or had thoughts of idolatry, his son will not be a Torah scholar; and if his son does learn Torah, then he will forget it.
    CHRONOLOGY: Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was born in 1772 and died in 1810 CE.
    ספר המידות – ערך בנים
    מא. מי שבא על הכותית או זכר, או הרהר בעבודה זרה, לא יהיה לו בן תלמיד חכם, ואם ילמד בנו תורה יהיה שכחן:

  8. itchiemayer says:

    Rabbi Shafner – Who is your Rebbe that you go to for advice on these issues? Does he agree with your approach? Did you ask a posek about what sort of outreach to the LGBT community is acceptable? Does your Rebbe agree that “it is quite clear that people do not decide to be LGBT” or is that your opinion? Frankly, I do believe it is likely that most people do not choose to be heterosexual, LGBT or whatever. It just happens. I don’t know when it was that I became attracted to the opposite sex (women). It just happened, as I’m sure it does for those that are attracted to the same sex. Nonetheless, it is noted as a pretty significant sin in the Torah. I don’t think we should be giving homosexuals the koach to continue in their ways. I think they are worthy of respect as human beings and I don’t condone being anything other than a mentsch in our dealings with them, but there can be absolutely no mixed messages with regard to whether or not we consider it a serious halachic violation. To the extent you do not make that clear, you could be unwittingly encouraging them to sin. The Torah is not always politically correct no matter how hard you may try to make it so. Political correctness is a modern day invention and when it comes to Emes, it comes in a distant second to Torah.

    • Guest Post says:

      I don’t think that rabbis must agree with their rebbes on all matters.
      I am not sure that the question of whether homosexuality is inborn or not is a jewish or halachic question, it is more likely one of psychology and medicine.
      When I discuss kiruv of people who drive on Shabbat I do not focus the conversation on telling them not to drive on Shabbat. Rather on how to bring them close. I made clear that we observe halacha, I also made clear the post was not focusing on the halacha.
      Rabbi Hyim Shafner

  9. Mr. Cohen says:

    Sefer HaMidot, chapter Niuf (part 2), paragraph 8:
    It is forbidden to judge favorably [lilmode zechut] a person
    who violates [the prohibition against] homosexuality.

    CHRONOLOGY:
    Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was born in 1772 and died in 1810 CE.

    ספר המידות – ערך נאוף חלק שני
    ח. אסור ללמד זכות, על זה שעבר על משכב זכור:

    • Guest Post says:

      I much as I love learning breslov chasidus I think Pirkey Avos wins here.
      Rabbi Hyim Shafner

      • Mr. Cohen says:

        ספר שערי תשובה השער השלישי – אות ריח
        וְאִם הָאִישׁ הַהוּא רֹב מַעֲשָֹיו לְרֹעַ אוֹ בְחַנְתּוֹ כִּי אֵין יִרְאַת – אֱלֹהִים בִּלְבָבוֹ
        תַּכְרִיעַ מַעֲשָֹיו וּדְבָרָיו לְכַף – חוֹבָה

  10. Mr. Cohen says:

    Babylonian Talmud, tractate Gittin,
    page 57B, 15th to 19th of thickest lines on page:

    400 Jewish boys and girls were captured by the
    Romans and were being taken to Rome on a ship.
    They all committed suicide by jumping into the sea.

    RASHI:
    The boys did this [committed suicide] to avoid
    being forced into homosexuality, and the girls did it
    [committed suicide] to avoid becoming concubines
    to Gentile men.

    PERSONAL COMMENT:
    Judaism usually severely criticizes people who commit suicide,
    but the Jewish boys who committed suicide in this Talmud story
    were never criticized at all, because they did it to avoid homosexuality.

  11. Gavi says:

    I fail to understand your argument. You state, based upon a reading of the rambam which, as Ben pointed out, is questionable at best, that all sexual sins are not mishpatim, and therefore should not be equated with incest, which you appear to state is rational. But, assuming your read is correct, Is not incest also a sexual sin? Shouldn’t incest also be a chok according to you classification?

    • Guest Post says:

      Incest is a sin. The question of morality would be determined by our own moreys. The Torah sees it as a chok according to this understanding.
      RHS

      • The Gemara in Yoma 67b says: את משפטי תעשו, דברים שאלמלא (לא) נכתבו דין הוא שיכתבו ואלו הן עבודת כוכבים וגלוי עריות ושפיכות דמים וגזל וברכת השם.
        R. Yeshayah Pick-Berlin points out that this Gemara conflicts with the Rambam in Shmonah Perakim who counts arayot in the category of so-called mitzvot shim’iyyot. (Le-havdil, Leo Strauss in Persecution and the Art of Writing, pp. 97,133 makes the same observation.) R. Bleich in his article “Judaism and Natural Law” pp. 38-41, explains that the Rambam never intended to say that all arayot are in the category of “shim’iyyot,” but only arayot such as the prohibition to marry the husband’s brother which is permitted in the case of yibbum, and other such arayot which are not absolute prohibitions.
        According to this eminently reasonable explanation, it is a mistake to cite Shmonah Perakim at all with regards to homosexuality.

  12. R. Shafner says that homosexuality, unlike incest, is not immoral, basing himself on “shmoneh pirkim.” (On a technical note–the plural of perek is perakim, and as a masculine noun, the number should be shemona.) Although I comment R. Shafner for his acknowledgment that incest is immoral, based on the same Rambam that he quotes it is not clear why that is obvious to him. In fact, the rationalist rishonim struggle to explain the prohibitions of incest, but have no difficulty explaining homosexuality. See for example R. Yosef ibn Kaspi, http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9459&st=&pgnum=238.
    Perhaps the shul should reconsider is exclusionary attitude toward married relatives?

  13. To quote R. Soloveitchik:
    We think we know the motivations for the prohibitions against stealing, murder, adultery, and false testimony and for the positive commandments which reflect a sensitivity to the rights and welfare of others. They seem to be morally uplifting and socially stabilizing. In fact, however, their moral reasonableness is often in question in our modern world. The campaigns to legitimize abortion, euthanasia, adultery, and homosexuality are examples of the unreliability of the social conscience even with mishpatim. Clearly mishpatim too must be accepted as hukim, lest they be rationalized away. http://bit.ly/12Hob7v

    http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/rav-soloveitchiks-clear-stand-on-homosexuality/2013/05/19/

  14. Have you ever notice that posts like this always follow the same pattern? You or one of your confreres decide that a secular liberal value like homosexual marriage or full egalitarianism is desirable but seems to conflict with traditional Jewish values. You then pick and choose a few sources, sometimes completely out of context and sometimes with deliberate misinterpretation to support your position that these secular liberal values are actually compatible with halacha. Then, when confronted with obvious evidence your position is weak and without any real support from the sources you’ve quoted you create non-existent divisions to deny the correctness of the opposing points.
    Doesn’t it get a little boring eventually?

    • Hyim Shafner says:

      On the contrary the values are Torah values, such as Ahavat Yisrael, loving all Jews and recognizing that all are made in the image of G-d.

      • Right, so this proves the point I was trying to make. Ahavas Yisrael is a lovely principle but it does have limits. Yes, Beruriah says to love the sinner and hate the sin but on then other hand a meisis to idolatry forfeits any presumption of innocence or sympathy in court and lots of inter-Jewish privileges are limited to “amecha” which the Gemara defines as “one who acts like ‘amecha’ and not one who violates the rules”.
        No matter how much it disturbs you the rules of sexual immorality include homosexual intercourse. If you have a guy move into town that openly admitted he lived a lifestyle that included have sex once in a while with his daughter or his sister’s wife because they’re “liberal and into that” would you see a special obligation to welcome him into your congregation? Would you encourage everyone to accept and love him without being judgmental? Would you be okay with handing out kibudim to him? How successful would you think those efforts would be?
        Like it or not, homosexual intercourse is in that list. It’s something you have to start considering.

      • Hyim Shafner says:

        Of course i would not welcome them. my point was the arayot are about isur and heter not morality and ethics. we have morality and ethics from other sources such as society and philosophy and torah. My point was only that there is no moral slippery slope. you could say any welcoming of people who violate the torah is a halachic slippery slope but then we could not welcome people who drive to shul either. lots of people don’t count sabbath violators or people who cheat on their taxes in a minyan or welcome them in shul for precisely that reason.

  15. Adam says:

    Rabbi Shafner, now that your citation of Rambam has been proven wrong by people who have cited chapter and verse (Ben, April 28, 1:15pm) why have you not corrected the article? Also, your classification of all arayot as chok leads to the bizarre conclusion that incest is also not a moral issue. You dance around this by saying that even within chukim we can choose what’s moral and not, based on our own morays. Ah, very clever slight of hand. That is tortured logic, and a selective invocation of sources to fit a preconceived secular liberal assumption, not Torah scholarship.

    • Hyim Shafner says:

      You call finding a contradiction in the Rambam “proven wrong”? Read the introduction to the Moreh. We approve all comments, does not mean we agree with them.

      • Adam says:

        When we find a contradiction in Rambam, we try and reconcile it, as some commenters here have done. Such as the view of R. Bleich that Rambam distinguished between the universal, intuitive arayot binding on Noahides (such as homosexuality) and the non intuitive ones like not marrying a deceased husband’s brother. What is your reconciliation of Rambam’s view?

      • Hyim Shafner says:

        refer me to the rabbi bleich citation. i’d like to read it.

  16. Adam says:

    “but then we could not welcome people who drive to shul either”

    But we welcome those people as individuals, not as shabbat violators. What you did is akin to having a shabaton for people who actively affirm themselves as “shabbat violators of America” and make it a part of their identity, which is not just accepting the individual, but also legitimizing the sin itself.

  17. Mr. Cohen says:

    Rabbi Hyim Shafner seems to be urging synagogues to accept
    Jews who openly admit to committing homosexuality.

    Would Rabbi Hyim Shafner also urge synagogues to accept
    Jews who openly admit to committing:
    Adultery? Incest? Bestiality? Rape? Car theft?
    Manufacturing pornography? Prostitution?

    If not, then why not?

    And if people who admit to committing those things are warmly accepted by synagogues, then how do Jewish parents explain to their children that those activities are very wrong?

  18. Mr. Cohen says:

    Babylonian Talmud, tractate Chullin, page 92A,
    2nd line from bottom of page:

    Ulla taught:

    There are three mitzvot that the Gentiles accept
    [that protect them].

    One of those three mitzvot is that they DO NOT
    write marriage contracts for men.

    http://news.yahoo.com/russian-lawmakers-pass-anti-gay-bill-436-0-164959267.html

  19. Mr. Cohen says:

    Sefer Charedim, Chapter 33, page 141 of menukad edition:

    Whoever commits homosexuality will be reincarnated as a rabbit or hare.

    NOTE: The beginning of chapter 33 teaches that the reincarnation punishments are IN ADDITION to the punishments in the grave and the punishments of Gehinom [Hell].

    ******************************************************************

    Shevet Mussar, chapter 14, paragraph 27:

    Quotes the Arizal:

    He who commits homosexuality will be reincarnated as a rabbit.

    CHRONOLOGY:
    Arizal was Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, born 1534 CE, died 1572 CE.

  20. Mr. Cohen says:

    It seems that 200 Orthodox Rabbis signed a proclamation decreeing that homosexuals and lesbians be treated with dignity and respect.

    When will Rabbis sign a proclamation decreeing that Sephardim and Baalei Teshuvah be treated with dignity and respect?

    Why are Sephardim and Baalei Teshuvah considered less worthy than homosexuals and lesbians?

  21. JDE says:

    Rabbi, kol hakavod. Of course, the inevitable byproduct of posting a blog entry like this one is that you end up arguing with idiots.

  22. Mr. Cohen says:

    Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer, chapter 43:
    The people of Ninveh wrote many unjust contracts and robbed each other and committed homosexuality and other similar wrongdoings. The Holy One Blessed Be He sent Jonah to prophecy to them and to destroy them, but Pharaoh [who was King of Ninveh at that time] stood up from his throne and tore his garments and wore sackcloth and ashes, and proclaimed to his entire nation that they fast for three days, and whoever failed to do these things would be burned with fire.

  23. Mr. Cohen says:

    Shulchan Aruch, Chelek Yoreh Deah, Siman 252, Sif 8:

    We [must] redeem a [captive] woman before a man [when it is not possible to redeem them both]. But in a place where they are accustomed to commit homosexuality, we must redeem the man first.

    MICROBIOGRAPHY: The Shulchan Aruch was written by Rabbi Yosef Caro, who lived from 1488 to 1575. He was forced to flee Spain at the time of the expulsion (or inquisition), eventually settling in the city of Tzfat, Israel where he was immediately appointed to a position of great importance. The introductory section of Sefer Charedim refers to refers to Rabbi Yosef Caro [קארו] as Gadol HaDor [the greatest Rabbi alive at that time].

    שו”ע יורה דעה – סימן רנב
    (ח) פודים האשה קודם האיש, ואם רגילין במשכב זכור, פודין האיש קודם.

  24. Chaim says:

    Thank you for a great, well written and compassionate article. Here is my question:

    You wrote: “It is quite clear that people do not just decide to be LGBT. This is especially so of religious people. All of our participants testified to being born gay. Who indeed would choose to be gay and have to deal with the inner turmoil and alienation that they described?”

    As far as I know, there is actually a large range amongst gays in how much they are capable of practicing heterosexuality, and the same is the case for heterosexuals in their ability to practice homosexuality. I refer the reader to Wikipedia’s article on the Kinsey Scale by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, which puts forth a 7 tiered scale of degrees of homosexuality/heterosexuality. Alos see the Wikipedia article on the Kinsy Reports. Here is a quote from the article on the Kinsey Reports:

    “Parts of the Kinsey Reports regarding diversity in sexual orientations are frequently used to support the common estimate of 10% for homosexuality in the general population. However, the findings are not as absolute, and Kinsey himself avoided and disapproved of using terms like homosexual or heterosexual to describe individuals, asserting that sexuality is prone to change over time, and that sexual behavior can be understood both as physical contact as well as purely psychological phenomena (desire, sexual attraction, fantasy). Instead of three categories (heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual), a seven-category Kinsey Scale system was used (an 8th category for asexuals was added by Kinsey’s associates).

    The reports also state that nearly 46% of the male subjects had “reacted” sexually to persons of both sexes in the course of their adult lives, and 37% had at least one homosexual experience. 11.6% of white males (ages 20–35) were given a rating of 3 (about equal heterosexual and homosexual experience/response) throughout their adult lives.[8] The study also reported that 10% of American males surveyed were “more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55″ (in the 5 to 6 range).[9]

    7% of single females (ages 20–35) and 4% of previously married females (ages 20–35) were given a rating of 3 (about equal heterosexual and homosexual experience/response) on Kinsey Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale for this period of their lives.[10] 2 to 6% of females, aged 20–35, were more or less exclusively homosexual in experience/response,[11] and 1 to 3% of unmarried females aged 20–35 were exclusively homosexual in experience/response

    (End Quote)

    In light of all these statistics, would you still say that no one would be gay if they didn’t have to? If homosexuality is accepted socially, isn’t there a far greater possibilty (even a likely one) that more youngsters will experiment with it?

    I agree with you about about valuing inclusiveness, but I don’t know how to get around this dillema.

    Your response will be greatly appreciated.

  25. […] say, “the current prayers and halakha already encourage queer inclusion.” Others say, “we need a new queer liturgy” – to be achieved – […]

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