Saturday, December 03, 2005

It Blew Me Away

Okay, so this is the thing that got me thinking about Michaelangelo and the brain-contorting feeling of realizing that many people do not have your perspectives or experience.

Over on DovBear's site, he has a comment up about a post by The Gabbai.


In the comments, someone asks DovBear a question, and he responds:

By the way, have you knowingly had someone of differing sexual preferences at your Shabbat table with your kids?

No, but only b. I've only met two openly gay people in my life, and though I hung out with both of them at different times for diferent reasons, (business related) neither was even slightly interested in meeting the wife and kids.


And I went "woooooaaaah. Weird." This blew me away. If you're not familiar with the site, DovBear is a smart, hard-hitting Modern Orthodox Democrat with attitude. I know he's at least grown enough to have some unspecified number of children. That's about all I know about him, actually.

Honestly, coming from my background and experience--San Francisco Bay Area, raised in the 80s and 90s, within the local Jewish community--I can't imagine, can't actually get my head around, the idea that a grown person could only have met two out gay people in his life so far. It's wildly exotic, really kind of amazing to me.

I grew up around, and am still meeting, gay Jews and gay gentiles, gay lawyers and doctors and rabbis, gay folks I love, and gay folks I could do without, leather daddies and lipstick lesbians, and cute college political dykes, and seriously scholarly Jewish boys and girls who run their shuls. Gay moms and dads, gay clergypeople, gay Zionists, and gay morons who march against Israel. This is not due to any serious sophistication on my part, or major lifestyle decision I've made, these people are all just HERE, people I've met in a vast variety of ways. Coworkers. Parent's friends. College friends. Neighbors. People I meet through hobbies. Folks I meet when I volunteer. Lots of people, you know, are just GAY. One in every minyan.

I don't think about this a lot, except when I'm confronted with the real knowledge that many people just don't know a lot of gay folks. Articles. Blogs. Ignorant silliness by social commentators who should know better.

Familiarity kills stereotypes and irrational fears. When you've danced at the wedding, admired the baby, and been too scared to bring a salad to the oneg because they keep REAL kosher, you can't fall into vague, scary, NAMBLA-tinged notions about 'those people'.

Of course, DovBear does not seem to have fallen into these notions, which leads me to believe that being smart will suffice for real-world experience in some things. But it still blows me away. Two out gay people? Ever? This isn't scorn, just astonishment. I can't imagine. I can't get there from here.

They keep telling me San Francisco is not the whole world. They may be right, but darnit, it OUGHT to be.

10 comments:

Moishe Q. Public said...

I wrote that question to DB. I often agree with him, but he does have 'interesting issues' when it comes to some topics on homosexuality. By the way, his blog does seem to indicate he is in the NY area, probably the city. I respond to one of his more bizarre notations on homosexuality here.

DovBear said...

B and MQP:

When I wrote that "if I was Jewish king of the world I would eventually get around" to enforcing the Torah's law re: gay people, I was playing a stalling game. Sort of like saying let's save the unpleasent questions for Elijah. I don't, after all, have any expectation of ever becoming King of the World, and as noted, even if I was, I wouldn't do anything immidately.

It was a glib way of recognizing a law, I wouldn't ever enforce.

And I really have only met 2 openly gay people... Fun guys, both.

Eliyahu said...

really, dov dear, i don't need any more unpleasent questions. oh, wait, maybe you're talking about the other guy.

Moishe Q. Public said...

The more I read DovBear, the more I would vote for him to be king of the world. But does one vote for king?

DovBear said...

The more I read DovBear, the more I would vote for him to be king of the world. But does one vote for king?

Sigh.

If there were more people like you I wouldn't need to be king of the world. The world would be just fine as it was.

DovBear said...

The more I read DovBear, the more I would vote for him to be king of the world. But does one vote for king?

Sigh.

If there were more people like you I wouldn't need to be king of the world. The world would be just fine as it was.

Anonymous said...

Remember when I went to Ireland. I came back and said I had more culture shock about the other americans than I had about the irish.
Bay area is not a "normal" place. But by god, I don't want to live anywhere else.
-- Niamh

Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

Yeah, I recall. And I had some of that as well...

Robbie said...

It's good to have people like you around.

a.s. said...

Another reason you're my east bay eishet chayil