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So, you’re gay? What does that even mean?


Yes. I’m homosexual. Gay. Whatever you want to call it.

That means I’m attracted to other people of my gender, and – here’s the kicker – that means also emotionally.

It’s easy/simple to label the term “gay” as an insult, as a “sexual orientation” (a term which is flawed from its very origin), or to limit it to sexual matters only.

Being gay is not only a “sexual orientation” or a “romantic attraction”. It is an emotional orientation.

I’m not only gay in the bedroom. My homosexuality is expressed by loving another man. By my desire to be with him. To build a family with him. My heart is gay. My mind. All of me. I am gay with every part of my body, my feelings and my thoughts.

Have you ever been in love? Was it only because of what was between their legs? For your own sake I hope it wasn’t.

We fall in love through our hearts. Through chemistry. Through conversation. We fall in love with the butterflies they out in our stomach. With the feeling of their embrace. Because of who they are. Their values, their personality and their thoughts. The person themselves.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Gay = Men dancing in thongs on top of trucks. Sparkles. Confetti. Feathers. Ofrah Haza. AIDS. Drugs. Orgies. Sodom and Gamorrah. Abominations.

Stereotypes.

How many gay people do you really know, personally, not just as an image? How many of them are on drugs? Wear thongs? Carriers? Dance on trucks? Like every society, also the Pride community has a wide variety of people (for example, over 320,000 people march in the Tel Aviv pride parade fully clothed) and it has very vocal fringes (such as 20 men dancing on trucks). No 15 second video can capture the complex reality of the Pride community.




Are you sure you’re gay?


Yes. One hundred percent.

Without a shadow of a doubt. Never doubted it for a second.

At no point have I doubted that I was gay, neither have I had any pangs of guilt about it. I felt no inner conflict, no self-hatred, made no attempts (both futile and self-harming) to change my inborn orientation or any attempt to fight it. The opposite is true.

I know I am an exceptional case. I knew who I was, I knew I was gay, I knew what that meant and I lived being completely comfortable with myself from a very young age. I always accepted myself with love, in all senses of the word.

I should also point out, life itself is dynamic. This is who I am today. Just like you, my tastes and preferences can change. This doesn’t mean I will only be myself in the future. I used to not like vegetables at all, now they are a central part of my shopping list. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

This is an inborn quality that will not change. Just like you know you love the opposite sex (or not, we’ll get to that). Like your height, shoe size, hair or eye colour. You can’t become gay, and you can’t change it. You’re either born that way or you’re not. Think to yourself: Have you ever experienced anything which changed your basic attraction to men/women? Did you need to experiment with men/women to “be sure”? It’s the same way for gays. You feel it. You know it.




Why even tell us? Who cares?


In our family, there are certain topics that are off-limits (whether we are aware of them or not), perhaps due to the concern that this very cohesive family won’t be able to stick together, that everything will, God forbid, fall apart.

In the 33 years of my short, but eventful, life, I’ve seen what happens when we don’t talk: I was present and active in two shivas after losing family members.

But eventually, when things are pushed down, they float back up. Always.

And so, I’ve learned on my own flesh that it’s better to talk. Even to fight. To hear and be heard, even if it’s “uncomfortable”. I believe in opening the wound, digging into it, dissecting it, draining it, sanitizing it and sealing it well. Yes, it’ll leave a scar. Not concealed. Visible. So that we will see it, remember and learn from it. There is no taboo I will not discuss, and there never will be (I hope).

Why share this? Because it is a mission.

Anyone who thinks I am the only LGBTQ person in this family, that I am a unique case, is mistaken. First of all, statistically, that’s impossible (see the questions in the “Family” section). Secondly – I know and am aware of several other gays in the family (some chose to share with me; some I learned from other sources). So, if you are struggling, confused, afraid, curious, know that it’s alright! It’s ok to search in the dark and discover who you are until you find the answers that are right for you. And the answers you find are completely legitimate! You are who you are – and you are as perfect as can be. You are not the only one, and you are definitely not alone.

If you are gay, nothing will happen to you.

You can come out of the closet and be happy. You can be who you are and the sky won’t come crashing down. I promise. It is possible. To find true, mutual, love. To live free independent lives in every area (personal, professional, familial) and be happy and content. Those who truly love you, will stay by your side, even if it takes them some time (sometimes they may hide away for a little in the very closet you left – but that’ll pass). You are worthy of love, you are not alone, you never will be and you won’t end up on the streets.




Why do you need all this publicity and provocation? Do what you want in your room, privately


Asking me to be gay “quietly”, “not in front of the kids because they’re young” or “just in your room”, is basically telling me: “Go back to the closet and do what you want there”. Well that’s just not going to happen.

When gay couples hug, kiss, or just hold hands in the street it’s gross, vulgar, provocative, a bad influence, apprehensive, “What do they need to do that for?”, it offends people. But when a straight couple does exactly that – it’s romantic, loving, something that makes people smile. It’s not provocative. It’s simply love.

If I want to kiss, hug, caress or hold hands with my partner (or display affection in any other way), I’m going to do it, even in front of you and your children. Get used to it. That’s how it is. Just like your allowed to express love in public (and you do, even offhandedly, without noticing, even if you don’t think you do), so can I.

The rule is simple: Don’t ask anything form me you wouldn’t ask from a straight person.

And there’s another reason: To present a positive view, a beacon of light, to that gay person who is still in the closet, scared, thinking their lives are over.

Also getting married at a later age, mixed dancing at weddings, being a girl and joining the IDF, being a woman with a demanding career, living together long before marriage, were all considered “provocative” less than half a decade ago. What wasn’t considered provocative? Sexual harassment. It was even legitimate. Accepted. And not that long ago either. Only two year. Times have changed. Get over it.




I won’t let you be gay in front of my children/I don’t want my kids to know


Yeah, there’s a difference between knowing I’m gay and accepting it.

A lot of people get confused and think they’ve accepted it, up till the moment of truth when I hold hands or kiss someone else.

All these requests (“Not in front of the kids”, for example) are illegitimate because they ask one thing: Go back into the closet because seeing this makes me uncomfortable.

Let me be clear: That’s not going to happen.

Your kids won’t become gay by being exposed to me. It doesn’t work like that. It won’t awaken any dormant desires. You’re either born this way or you aren’t. The best possible proof for this: Most children of gay couples are straight.

Sexual orientation is an inborn trait. It isn’t influenced by any environmental, external factors. People, you’re born with it. It’s that simple. Like height, or body build. You can’t just become gay. You can’t switch or change. Your either born this way or you aren’t.

Anyone who says they fully accept me, needs to fully accept me. The whole package. There is no half-deal. No kind of. No partially. You either accept me, or you don’t. There is no way to hide the situation from your kids, and there is no reason to. If you don’t communicate this reality to your children (this will be addressed in a separate question), the reality will meet them at the next family event. This doesn’t mean I’ll be wearing thongs, with confetti and sparkles (this incredibly inaccurate stigma is addressed in a separate question), but on the other hand, just like our straight relatives, I don’t plan on hiding who I am or my partner and any children I may have (God willing). You wouldn’t ask this of them. There’s no reason to ask it of me.




“That’s not surprising”, “I knew it”, “Totally expected”, “I had a feeling”, “It was obvious”, “We could tell”


Let’s try and avoid those kinds of reactions.

No one is giving out medals to people who were “right” or guessed correctly. Sorry to say, but this isn’t about you. This is about whoever just came out to you.

Someone just shared something incredibly intimate with you because they felt close to you. Of course, there is no wrong or right reaction, but still, even “I accept you the way you are” isn’t the best way to convey your feelings, even if you have good intentions. How come? Because it’s a little condescending. Nobody needs your approval, least of all the person coming out to you. We aren’t doing this so you can legitimize us. We come out to you because we want to share something personal with you.

So next time someone shares something personal with you, simply thank them for sharing, which is not a given. Try not to dwell on the past: “Who else knows?”, “How did you know?”, “When did you find out?”. Try to focus on the present and future: “How do you feel about this situation?”, “Can we help and how?”, “Are you in or seeking a relationship?”.

Remember to express joy, optimism and hope for the future without placing to much pressure on them (“Any partner you have will be lucky to have you”) and simply speak form the heart.




We can’t host you anymore/You can’t come over with your partner


The gap between knowing I’m gay and accepting it is truly astonishing.

Many people believe they accept it and all, right up until the moment of truth.

I’ll make this easy, and with lots of love.

Whoever “accepts and loves me”, but can no longer have me over, or asks me not to tell their children, tells me to “not be gay” around them or not to come to an event with my partner – it simply won’t happen.

Just like you wouldn’t tell a straight relative not to come to a family event with their partner, such a request shouldn’t even cross your minds regarding me. Anyone who says they fully accept me, needs to fully accept me. The whole package. There is no half-deal. No kind of. No partially. You either accept me, or you don’t. Believe me, I try to accept you the way you are, even though I don’t always agree with who and what you are.

If you can’t do that, I’m sorry, but we can no longer have any sort of relationship.




How do we tell the kids?


First of all, there is no way your kids won’t know. They will find out eventually.

It is your choice, as parents, whether to explain this reality to them or not. If you choose to do so, consider every word carefully before opening your mouth.

From experience, the younger children are, the easier it is for them to accept a situation in a natural way, because they don’t have the same mental block and thought patterns as us, the adults.

The best example of this: Grandpa Emanuel. Despite the loss of his eye which was not replaced by a prosthetic after a serious car accident, we, the grandchildren (with the exception of one granddaughter), accepted it in the most natural way there could be. We accepted Grandpa like any grandparent, we hugged and kissed him. Most of us had other grandparents with a full pair of eyes. We had what to compare to, but nevertheless, Grandpa was who Grandpa was.

Kids have always been more advanced and progressive the adults (not only in the area of technology). Most of them have already encountered Pride families in kindergarten, school, on TV or the internet (and if you think there is no way that’s true – you clearly don’t know your kids well enough). Yes, it also happens in religious and even Haredi schools.

Each family has their own family dynamic. There is no one all-encompassing way to give this message.

It’s your choice as parents as to if and when to tell them, whether to sit them down for a conversation, to read them a bedtime story (there is no shortage of stories about different kinds of families, for example), or simply letting them encounter this reality at a family gathering. It’s your choice.

Hiding, on the other hand – you won’t be able to hide this from them.

Here are a few things you should not tell them: This isn’t our way; It’s against the Torah (that’s simply not true); This is what he is – but we don’t act that way; He’s family – but we don’t accept this; He chose this; This is terribly unfortunate for him; We pity him; We need to pray for him; You can’t choose your family (wrong!) and this is who he is and how it is etc.

Here are a few things you could tell them: Just like some of us were born with blonde or black hair, green or brown eyes, Evyatar was born as someone who loves boys and not girls; In our family there’s a place for everyone, and we accept them happily and with love, even if they are different form us; We’ve known Evyatar for many years, and we know many things about him, for example ___________, we are happy he chose to share this part of him with us.; In our house we can be who we are, and there is room for everyone; You probably know this, but it’s important for us to say this out loud: You can always be who you are with us and share with us anything you want, you don’t need to be afraid. You will always have a place with us etc.




How did you know you were gay?


You don’t need to know or experiment (with a woman/man) in order “to be sure” or “to know”.

Come on, deep inside you all know who and what you are (and if you don’t – it’s time to have that conversation with yourself openly).

Me too.

It may sound cliché’, but the answer is that you just feel it, just like you are able to feel who you’re attracted to (whether to one gender, several, some, or none at all – they’re all ok, they’re all valid!).




When did you know you were gay?


Always.

When I look really far back (I have a very good memory; for better and for worse) and retrace my behavior back at kindergarten age, I realize that already at the age of 3-4-5 I was attracted to boys: I wanted to be friends with other children who I was attracted to. I would seek their company and friendship.

Around 3rd grade it escalated: I remember telling myself there is someone very beautiful in class. I still didn’t do anything about it. I just wanted to be around him as much as possible, more than just friendship.




Tell the truth: Is being gay a choice? Did something happen in your life? Were you born this way?


For once and for all: Sexual orientation is an inborn quality. It is not a choice (were you born straight or did you choose to be?).

It is not affected by environmental or external factors of any kind.

I didn’t experience any kind of trauma.

Not even sexual trauma/

You don’t become LGBTQ because one parent was too “masculine”/”feminine”/”dominant”/”passive”.

I didn’t become gay because I lost my father or because I was left with only my mother.

Not because I’m the eldest child or because I met a gay man when I was young… I don’t know.

People, you’re born this way. It’s that simple. Like height. Shoe size. Hair or eye colour. You can’t become gay. You can’t change it or switch. You’re either born this way or you’re not. The same way you know you’re attracted to the opposite sex (or not).

Think to yourself: Have you ever experienced anything that changed your basic attraction to men/women? Did you need to experiment with men/women to “be sure”? It’s the same for gay people. You feel it. You know it.




Are you in a relationship? Do you have a partner? Have you had a partner?


I’ve had relationships.

Some of you even met my partners along the way. I’m a man of long relationships (from several months to good, long years spent together) – something that is not at all a given in our day and age, certainly not in the pride community. I know I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have amazing partners by my side, each one of them.




When did you start coming out of the closet?


You never stop coming out of the closet. In school, youth groups, army, university, workplaces, class reunions, family events – there will always be someone who’s not up to date.

Since age 14 I started coming out to people who were close to me who from the way of things I knew (whether consciously or not) would accept me, would shower me with love and fill me with confidence. Slowly but surely that circle began to widen more and more.




Why now?


Firstly, let’s stop the speculation. This has nothing to do with Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur or any kind of self-reflection and resolution. The timing is completely coincidental. My journey of coming out hasn’t begun now. I came out at age 14, including to members of the family (by the way, I never asked anyone not to tell). As far as I’m concerned, being gay is a non-issue and I never felt the need to hide it. I was never really in the closet. It was never a question of “if” or “when” but mainly – “how”.

Coming out of the closet is a conversation that usually can take up to an hour and a half. We are a huge family. That would demand from me an amount of time and energy I simply don’t have. I searched for a concept that is collective yet personal. For over half a decade I’ve been racking my thoughts for how to make this public (but personal) move for the family, in the best way possible, not just for me but for you (straights and gays alike). Many ideas and concepts were dropped along the way, until I arrived at this idea, which also took quite some time to put together, polish and fill with content.

So why now? Because I finally finished setting up the website.

I searched for a concept which would prevent embarrassment (from you, like there is in many face to face conversations), but still provides answers to all your questions (which from conversation to conversation begin to repeat themselves), including questions we don’t feel comfortable asking, in order to set the stage for an open dialogue.

There’s also the matter of being the first. I am the first openly gay member of our family. I am paving a path here so that those who come after me will have it (much) easier. And it will be. They won’t have to deal with all this mumbo-jumbo. If it were possible, I would sit each of you down and have a one-on-one conversation and answer all your questions. And it is possible! If you feel the need for a one-on-one-or-more conversation, feel free to reach out, I’d be more than happy!





So, you’re gay? What does that even mean?


Yes. I’m homosexual. Gay. Whatever you want to call it.

That means I’m attracted to other people of my gender, and – here’s the kicker – that means also emotionally.

It’s easy/simple to label the term “gay” as an insult, as a “sexual orientation” (a term which is flawed from its very origin), or to limit it to sexual matters only.

Being gay is not only a “sexual orientation” or a “romantic attraction”. It is an emotional orientation.

I’m not only gay in the bedroom. My homosexuality is expressed by loving another man. By my desire to be with him. To build a family with him. My heart is gay. My mind. All of me. I am gay with every part of my body, my feelings and my thoughts.

Have you ever been in love? Was it only because of what was between their legs? For your own sake I hope it wasn’t.

We fall in love through our hearts. Through chemistry. Through conversation. We fall in love with the butterflies they out in our stomach. With the feeling of their embrace. Because of who they are. Their values, their personality and their thoughts. The person themselves.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Gay = Men dancing in thongs on top of trucks. Sparkles. Confetti. Feathers. Ofrah Haza. AIDS. Drugs. Orgies. Sodom and Gamorrah. Abominations.

Stereotypes.

How many gay people do you really know, personally, not just as an image? How many of them are on drugs? Wear thongs? Carriers? Dance on trucks? Like every society, also the Pride community has a wide variety of people (for example, over 320,000 people march in the Tel Aviv pride parade fully clothed) and it has very vocal fringes (such as 20 men dancing on trucks). No 15 second video can capture the complex reality of the Pride community.




Are you sure you’re gay?


Yes. One hundred percent.

Without a shadow of a doubt. Never doubted it for a second.

At no point have I doubted that I was gay, neither have I had any pangs of guilt about it. I felt no inner conflict, no self-hatred, made no attempts (both futile and self-harming) to change my inborn orientation or any attempt to fight it. The opposite is true.

I know I am an exceptional case. I knew who I was, I knew I was gay, I knew what that meant and I lived being completely comfortable with myself from a very young age. I always accepted myself with love, in all senses of the word.

I should also point out, life itself is dynamic. This is who I am today. Just like you, my tastes and preferences can change. This doesn’t mean I will only be myself in the future. I used to not like vegetables at all, now they are a central part of my shopping list. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

This is an inborn quality that will not change. Just like you know you love the opposite sex (or not, we’ll get to that). Like your height, shoe size, hair or eye colour. You can’t become gay, and you can’t change it. You’re either born that way or you’re not. Think to yourself: Have you ever experienced anything which changed your basic attraction to men/women? Did you need to experiment with men/women to “be sure”? It’s the same way for gays. You feel it. You know it.




Why even tell us? Who cares?


In our family, there are certain topics that are off-limits (whether we are aware of them or not), perhaps due to the concern that this very cohesive family won’t be able to stick together, that everything will, God forbid, fall apart.

In the 33 years of my short, but eventful, life, I’ve seen what happens when we don’t talk: I was present and active in two shivas after losing family members.

But eventually, when things are pushed down, they float back up. Always.

And so, I’ve learned on my own flesh that it’s better to talk. Even to fight. To hear and be heard, even if it’s “uncomfortable”. I believe in opening the wound, digging into it, dissecting it, draining it, sanitizing it and sealing it well. Yes, it’ll leave a scar. Not concealed. Visible. So that we will see it, remember and learn from it. There is no taboo I will not discuss, and there never will be (I hope).

Why share this? Because it is a mission.

Anyone who thinks I am the only LGBTQ person in this family, that I am a unique case, is mistaken. First of all, statistically, that’s impossible (see the questions in the “Family” section). Secondly – I know and am aware of several other gays in the family (some chose to share with me; some I learned from other sources). So, if you are struggling, confused, afraid, curious, know that it’s alright! It’s ok to search in the dark and discover who you are until you find the answers that are right for you. And the answers you find are completely legitimate! You are who you are – and you are as perfect as can be. You are not the only one, and you are definitely not alone.

If you are gay, nothing will happen to you.

You can come out of the closet and be happy. You can be who you are and the sky won’t come crashing down. I promise. It is possible. To find true, mutual, love. To live free independent lives in every area (personal, professional, familial) and be happy and content. Those who truly love you, will stay by your side, even if it takes them some time (sometimes they may hide away for a little in the very closet you left – but that’ll pass). You are worthy of love, you are not alone, you never will be and you won’t end up on the streets.




Why do you need all this publicity and provocation? Do what you want in your room, privately


Asking me to be gay “quietly”, “not in front of the kids because they’re young” or “just in your room”, is basically telling me: “Go back to the closet and do what you want there”. Well that’s just not going to happen.

When gay couples hug, kiss, or just hold hands in the street it’s gross, vulgar, provocative, a bad influence, apprehensive, “What do they need to do that for?”, it offends people. But when a straight couple does exactly that – it’s romantic, loving, something that makes people smile. It’s not provocative. It’s simply love.

If I want to kiss, hug, caress or hold hands with my partner (or display affection in any other way), I’m going to do it, even in front of you and your children. Get used to it. That’s how it is. Just like your allowed to express love in public (and you do, even offhandedly, without noticing, even if you don’t think you do), so can I.

The rule is simple: Don’t ask anything form me you wouldn’t ask from a straight person.

And there’s another reason: To present a positive view, a beacon of light, to that gay person who is still in the closet, scared, thinking their lives are over.

Also getting married at a later age, mixed dancing at weddings, being a girl and joining the IDF, being a woman with a demanding career, living together long before marriage, were all considered “provocative” less than half a decade ago. What wasn’t considered provocative? Sexual harassment. It was even legitimate. Accepted. And not that long ago either. Only two year. Times have changed. Get over it.




I won’t let you be gay in front of my children/I don’t want my kids to know


Yeah, there’s a difference between knowing I’m gay and accepting it.

A lot of people get confused and think they’ve accepted it, up till the moment of truth when I hold hands or kiss someone else.

All these requests (“Not in front of the kids”, for example) are illegitimate because they ask one thing: Go back into the closet because seeing this makes me uncomfortable.

Let me be clear: That’s not going to happen.

Your kids won’t become gay by being exposed to me. It doesn’t work like that. It won’t awaken any dormant desires. You’re either born this way or you aren’t. The best possible proof for this: Most children of gay couples are straight.

Sexual orientation is an inborn trait. It isn’t influenced by any environmental, external factors. People, you’re born with it. It’s that simple. Like height, or body build. You can’t just become gay. You can’t switch or change. Your either born this way or you aren’t.

Anyone who says they fully accept me, needs to fully accept me. The whole package. There is no half-deal. No kind of. No partially. You either accept me, or you don’t. There is no way to hide the situation from your kids, and there is no reason to. If you don’t communicate this reality to your children (this will be addressed in a separate question), the reality will meet them at the next family event. This doesn’t mean I’ll be wearing thongs, with confetti and sparkles (this incredibly inaccurate stigma is addressed in a separate question), but on the other hand, just like our straight relatives, I don’t plan on hiding who I am or my partner and any children I may have (God willing). You wouldn’t ask this of them. There’s no reason to ask it of me.




“That’s not surprising”, “I knew it”, “Totally expected”, “I had a feeling”, “It was obvious”, “We could tell”


Let’s try and avoid those kinds of reactions.

No one is giving out medals to people who were “right” or guessed correctly. Sorry to say, but this isn’t about you. This is about whoever just came out to you.

Someone just shared something incredibly intimate with you because they felt close to you. Of course, there is no wrong or right reaction, but still, even “I accept you the way you are” isn’t the best way to convey your feelings, even if you have good intentions. How come? Because it’s a little condescending. Nobody needs your approval, least of all the person coming out to you. We aren’t doing this so you can legitimize us. We come out to you because we want to share something personal with you.

So next time someone shares something personal with you, simply thank them for sharing, which is not a given. Try not to dwell on the past: “Who else knows?”, “How did you know?”, “When did you find out?”. Try to focus on the present and future: “How do you feel about this situation?”, “Can we help and how?”, “Are you in or seeking a relationship?”.

Remember to express joy, optimism and hope for the future without placing to much pressure on them (“Any partner you have will be lucky to have you”) and simply speak form the heart.




We can’t host you anymore/You can’t come over with your partner


The gap between knowing I’m gay and accepting it is truly astonishing.

Many people believe they accept it and all, right up until the moment of truth.

I’ll make this easy, and with lots of love.

Whoever “accepts and loves me”, but can no longer have me over, or asks me not to tell their children, tells me to “not be gay” around them or not to come to an event with my partner – it simply won’t happen.

Just like you wouldn’t tell a straight relative not to come to a family event with their partner, such a request shouldn’t even cross your minds regarding me. Anyone who says they fully accept me, needs to fully accept me. The whole package. There is no half-deal. No kind of. No partially. You either accept me, or you don’t. Believe me, I try to accept you the way you are, even though I don’t always agree with who and what you are.

If you can’t do that, I’m sorry, but we can no longer have any sort of relationship.




How do we tell the kids?


First of all, there is no way your kids won’t know. They will find out eventually.

It is your choice, as parents, whether to explain this reality to them or not. If you choose to do so, consider every word carefully before opening your mouth.

From experience, the younger children are, the easier it is for them to accept a situation in a natural way, because they don’t have the same mental block and thought patterns as us, the adults.

The best example of this: Grandpa Emanuel. Despite the loss of his eye which was not replaced by a prosthetic after a serious car accident, we, the grandchildren (with the exception of one granddaughter), accepted it in the most natural way there could be. We accepted Grandpa like any grandparent, we hugged and kissed him. Most of us had other grandparents with a full pair of eyes. We had what to compare to, but nevertheless, Grandpa was who Grandpa was.

Kids have always been more advanced and progressive the adults (not only in the area of technology). Most of them have already encountered Pride families in kindergarten, school, on TV or the internet (and if you think there is no way that’s true – you clearly don’t know your kids well enough). Yes, it also happens in religious and even Haredi schools.

Each family has their own family dynamic. There is no one all-encompassing way to give this message.

It’s your choice as parents as to if and when to tell them, whether to sit them down for a conversation, to read them a bedtime story (there is no shortage of stories about different kinds of families, for example), or simply letting them encounter this reality at a family gathering. It’s your choice.

Hiding, on the other hand – you won’t be able to hide this from them.

Here are a few things you should not tell them: This isn’t our way; It’s against the Torah (that’s simply not true); This is what he is – but we don’t act that way; He’s family – but we don’t accept this; He chose this; This is terribly unfortunate for him; We pity him; We need to pray for him; You can’t choose your family (wrong!) and this is who he is and how it is etc.

Here are a few things you could tell them: Just like some of us were born with blonde or black hair, green or brown eyes, Evyatar was born as someone who loves boys and not girls; In our family there’s a place for everyone, and we accept them happily and with love, even if they are different form us; We’ve known Evyatar for many years, and we know many things about him, for example ___________, we are happy he chose to share this part of him with us.; In our house we can be who we are, and there is room for everyone; You probably know this, but it’s important for us to say this out loud: You can always be who you are with us and share with us anything you want, you don’t need to be afraid. You will always have a place with us etc.




How did you know you were gay?


You don’t need to know or experiment (with a woman/man) in order “to be sure” or “to know”.

Come on, deep inside you all know who and what you are (and if you don’t – it’s time to have that conversation with yourself openly).

Me too.

It may sound cliché’, but the answer is that you just feel it, just like you are able to feel who you’re attracted to (whether to one gender, several, some, or none at all – they’re all ok, they’re all valid!).




When did you know you were gay?


Always.

When I look really far back (I have a very good memory; for better and for worse) and retrace my behavior back at kindergarten age, I realize that already at the age of 3-4-5 I was attracted to boys: I wanted to be friends with other children who I was attracted to. I would seek their company and friendship.

Around 3rd grade it escalated: I remember telling myself there is someone very beautiful in class. I still didn’t do anything about it. I just wanted to be around him as much as possible, more than just friendship.




Tell the truth: Is being gay a choice? Did something happen in your life? Were you born this way?


For once and for all: Sexual orientation is an inborn quality. It is not a choice (were you born straight or did you choose to be?).

It is not affected by environmental or external factors of any kind.

I didn’t experience any kind of trauma.

Not even sexual trauma/

You don’t become LGBTQ because one parent was too “masculine”/”feminine”/”dominant”/”passive”.

I didn’t become gay because I lost my father or because I was left with only my mother.

Not because I’m the eldest child or because I met a gay man when I was young… I don’t know.

People, you’re born this way. It’s that simple. Like height. Shoe size. Hair or eye colour. You can’t become gay. You can’t change it or switch. You’re either born this way or you’re not. The same way you know you’re attracted to the opposite sex (or not).

Think to yourself: Have you ever experienced anything that changed your basic attraction to men/women? Did you need to experiment with men/women to “be sure”? It’s the same for gay people. You feel it. You know it.




Are you in a relationship? Do you have a partner? Have you had a partner?


I’ve had relationships.

Some of you even met my partners along the way. I’m a man of long relationships (from several months to good, long years spent together) – something that is not at all a given in our day and age, certainly not in the pride community. I know I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have amazing partners by my side, each one of them.




When did you start coming out of the closet?


You never stop coming out of the closet. In school, youth groups, army, university, workplaces, class reunions, family events – there will always be someone who’s not up to date.

Since age 14 I started coming out to people who were close to me who from the way of things I knew (whether consciously or not) would accept me, would shower me with love and fill me with confidence. Slowly but surely that circle began to widen more and more.




Why now?


Firstly, let’s stop the speculation. This has nothing to do with Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur or any kind of self-reflection and resolution. The timing is completely coincidental. My journey of coming out hasn’t begun now. I came out at age 14, including to members of the family (by the way, I never asked anyone not to tell). As far as I’m concerned, being gay is a non-issue and I never felt the need to hide it. I was never really in the closet. It was never a question of “if” or “when” but mainly – “how”.

Coming out of the closet is a conversation that usually can take up to an hour and a half. We are a huge family. That would demand from me an amount of time and energy I simply don’t have. I searched for a concept that is collective yet personal. For over half a decade I’ve been racking my thoughts for how to make this public (but personal) move for the family, in the best way possible, not just for me but for you (straights and gays alike). Many ideas and concepts were dropped along the way, until I arrived at this idea, which also took quite some time to put together, polish and fill with content.

So why now? Because I finally finished setting up the website.

I searched for a concept which would prevent embarrassment (from you, like there is in many face to face conversations), but still provides answers to all your questions (which from conversation to conversation begin to repeat themselves), including questions we don’t feel comfortable asking, in order to set the stage for an open dialogue.

There’s also the matter of being the first. I am the first openly gay member of our family. I am paving a path here so that those who come after me will have it (much) easier. And it will be. They won’t have to deal with all this mumbo-jumbo. If it were possible, I would sit each of you down and have a one-on-one conversation and answer all your questions. And it is possible! If you feel the need for a one-on-one-or-more conversation, feel free to reach out, I’d be more than happy!





I think I might be, you know, like you. How can I know for sure?


First of all, thank you for sharing and being brave enough to ask yourself who and what you are.

The short answer: You feel it.

I believe (and science, medicine and psychology all agree) that we are all born on a spectrum between attraction to men and women.

Each one of us is place somewhere entirely different, personal and unique to us on the scale: Some are entirely attracted to either men or women, some to both, a little here and a little there, sometimes here and sometimes there.

More than a few family members and friends have confessed to me that they are curious and want to find out but are afraid of what will happen if they push that button and open that pandora’s box.

True, you need to be incredibly honest and brave, to be open to experiment, experience and have open and honest conversation with yourself: “This is right for me”, “This isn’t”, or “Maybe this could be right for me”. The worst that can happen is that you’ll clear away the doubt and find out something new about yourself, or otherwise confirm what you already know. Be yourselves. Proud of the life you choose. And most importantly – love yourselves ❤️




Why so they say the gay people have AIDS?


Yes, there were family members who, when I told them, could only think “Gay = AIDS = Ofrah Hazah”.

Thanks for the stereotyping, Amos Guttman. Let’s start by saying that not all gay people are sick/carrying AIDS/HIV. Most people are careful, protect themselves and are as healthy as me or you.

Now, since we’re already discussing this, let’s point out a few things, together:

  • AIDS is not a disease that only targets gay people, it can infect anyone who has unprotected sex.
  • You can’t be infected with AIDS by hugging, kissing, sneezing, exchanging tears, eating from the same utensils, thrown out oranges, etc.
  • Most people infected lately haven’t been gay people, rather straight people who they or their partners were not using protection.
  • People don’t die from AIDS anymore and instead remain HIV carriers (meaning it is no longer a disease outbreak).
  • With proper care, HIV carriers can live to be 90 years old (or more) and can have perfectly healthy children.
  • The disease has become a simple chronic disease (less severe than diabetes, for example).
  • So long as the carrier receives consistent care, they can’t infect anyone else. The virus becomes so weak that it cannot be detected in a regular blood test (from the carrier receiving the care).
  • The famous “cocktail” has been turned into one pill taken daily (or one shot, given every few months).
  • One can have unprotected sex if you take a daily pill known as PrEP, which prevents contracting HIV (but not other STDs).
  • If you are having sex (even protected) with different partners (even if you’re straight), you should ask your doctor once every 3 months for a referral to general STD screening which includes blood, urine, saliva tests, along with other forms of testing.
  • Did you have unprotected sex? Even if you’re straight, go immediately to the ER (you have less than 72 hours, no need for a referral) and you’ll get preventive treatment for exposure to the HIV virus: Several pills that need to be taken for 30 days.
  • Use a condom. No excuses! No “It’s uncomfortable”. No “I don’t want to ask”.
  • You can find more information here.




Seriously, isn’t this kind of a cry for attention?


You don’t become gay in order to get attention. That’s another result of homophobia – which usually leads to a lack of self-acceptance.

After all, if I showed up out of nowhere to a family event with a male partner in my arms. The staring, whispers, some would probably choke on their hors d’oeuvres, some would keep their distance and others would talk behind my back about how… I’m seeking attention – so either way that’s the result, and criticism will be criticism, no matter what primitive reason it has.




Honestly, would you take a pill if it could make you wake up straight tomorrow?


In the past, my answer would be yes, because I thought straight people had it easier in life.

Over time, I discovered that straight people, just like gay people, can also have a hard time in life, if not more. Add to that the face that I’m simply living my life the way I like and love (I wish we all can reach that level of true freedom), and for the most part I’m happy with my life, so what’s the problem?

I do not want to give up on being gay because that is a part of who I am. I am the person I am today because I was born gay. I love myself and I wouldn’t want to change or become someone who I’m not. Not outside or inside.




Seriously, would you want to have been born straight?


Usually, whenever I’m asked this question, people assume that my life would have been easier if I had been born straight. In my case that’s not really true, because I never had inner conflict, regrets, self-hatred or lack of self-acceptance. I also don’t see straight people who have it easier than me.

If anything, I would want to have been born as a privileged white man with a perfect metabolism, to a family in Kfar Shemaryahu with infinite wealth. Would that guarantee me an easier life? Maybe. But we can’t really know.




How does it work in bed? What does it mean to be active/passive? How do you know which one you are?


As a general rule: Just like you don’t want people asking about your sexual exploits and positions in bed, don’t ask gay people. I understand the curiosity, but that’s what the internet is for.

Regardless, active, passive as well as verse are all roles and positions in the bedroom.

Active = Penetrating.

Passive = Penetrated.

Verse = Both.

Side = Someone who doesn’t engage in full sexual relations.

I want to point out: Being gay is more than just being active/passive, it is a full array of thoughts and emotions that neither begins nor ends with what happens in the bedroom.

In order to find out, you ask your partner what his preferences are. Usually it comes up pretty quickly and early on, in order to understand if there is compatibility in that aspect as well. On certain dating apps there is an option to state what your preferences are.

Just like there is compatibility of intellect and appearance, gay couples also need sexual compatibility. Yet, I know quite a few couples where both partners have the same preference in bed. How does this work? They figure it out. They find solutions suitable to their relationship dynamic.

How do you know which one you are? There are some who feel the need to try both to know what feels best for them. There are some who discover the other way later and will want to mix it up or switch (either permanently, or for special occasions/partners). Life is dynamic. We can decide to be one way today and another tomorrow. Or both.




So, do you (or What does it mean to): Bite pillows/Stir cocoa/Hold onto sinks?


A lot of people say phrases like or terms like these without understanding what they mean, as if we’re still in the 90’s and Shalom Asayag is still making jokes about Romanians wearing tracksuits.

These phrases – and other types of inappropriate behavior which were seen among us up to the age of MeToo need to disappear. We’ve moved on. It is unacceptable to use these terms and I am definitely not about to explain what they each mean (anyone who really wants to know can feel free to reach out to me privately and I’ll explain their history and significance). The word “gay” also needs to return to its original definition and stop being considered an insult.

That being said, gay slang is slowly moving into the public domain, and anyone who needs help interpreting it – that’s what I’m here for! 😊

By the way, gay people, like any minority, are allowed to make fun of themselves, and can continue to use any term or name they want to refer to themselves, whether accurate or not.




I’m sorry you are “this way”


I’m sorry you’re sorry…. For what though?

On the contrary, you should be happy for me. I am who I am. I love myself and accept myself and my surroundings with love. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

We’re not in the 80’s-90’s anymore. Gay people (for the most part) are no longer pariahs, social anomalies, outcasts, whose friends and families abandon. The world has changed and advanced.

You can see us and others like us everywhere, not just in Tel Aviv, and in positions of significance – from military generals and ministers in government to popular singers, actors and TV hosts. Coming out of the closet is no longer an issue. There are over 15,000 LGBTQ families. We are not lonely or alone (at least no more than the average single person).

Let’s put everything out in the open. You knew. And maybe you thought this day would never come. That it would remain uncertain. Maybe you were more comfortable with me in the closet. But now, now it’s out there. It’s official. And now you need to deal with a situation that’s new (for you). So maybe that’s why you’re sorry. But that’s your problem. Not mine.




What happens in conversion therapy?


I never went to conversion therapy, but I’ve heard enough firsthand accounts of what happens in the so-called “treatment”.

In conversion therapy, the “therapist” (who usually has no professional training to grant him the title of “therapist”) will try to convince the patient that they are gay because their father/mother were too feminine/masculine, that they are suffering from some sort of trauma which made them gay. They will try and make them believe that an inborn quality can be changed.

It will begin with a simple request: To snap a rubber band on your wrist each time you think of a man (believing they can create a condition linking homosexuality to pain). When that doesn’t work, they will reprimand you saying you are to blame, that you aren’t trying enough, not making an effort.

He will make you increase the pain threshold (and out of frustration and guilt you can come to attempt suicide). They will ask you to masturbate to old, fat and wrinkly men who you don’t find attractive. They will force you to masturbate to straight pornographic films. Sometimes they will even ask to be present. Suddenly, the ends justify the means of masturbating.

I know quite a few friends who went through conversion therapy. Some arrived there simply because they hated themselves and wanted to change. Others were pressured by family or rabbis. Most of them came out permanently damaged. With emotional scars that hurt their family life, work life, relationships, in building a family and between themselves.

I know hundreds of religious gay people. I haven’t met a single one who said “I tried it, and the therapy worked! I’m straight!”. I have met those who the therapy “worked on”, got married and had children (and then proceed to cheat on their families in hiding), as well as cases of attempted suicide and successful attempts.

For more on conversion therapy, read here

Conversion therapy is mentally damaging and should be outlawed. Period. Don’t go to conversion therapy. Go to regular mental therapy with a licensed therapist to discuss your identity. They will assist you in living at peace with it in the way that is best for you.





I think I might be, you know, like you. How can I know for sure?


First of all, thank you for sharing and being brave enough to ask yourself who and what you are.

The short answer: You feel it.

I believe (and science, medicine and psychology all agree) that we are all born on a spectrum between attraction to men and women.

Each one of us is place somewhere entirely different, personal and unique to us on the scale: Some are entirely attracted to either men or women, some to both, a little here and a little there, sometimes here and sometimes there.

More than a few family members and friends have confessed to me that they are curious and want to find out but are afraid of what will happen if they push that button and open that pandora’s box.

True, you need to be incredibly honest and brave, to be open to experiment, experience and have open and honest conversation with yourself: “This is right for me”, “This isn’t”, or “Maybe this could be right for me”. The worst that can happen is that you’ll clear away the doubt and find out something new about yourself, or otherwise confirm what you already know. Be yourselves. Proud of the life you choose. And most importantly – love yourselves ❤️




Why so they say the gay people have AIDS?


Yes, there were family members who, when I told them, could only think “Gay = AIDS = Ofrah Hazah”.

Thanks for the stereotyping, Amos Guttman. Let’s start by saying that not all gay people are sick/carrying AIDS/HIV. Most people are careful, protect themselves and are as healthy as me or you.

Now, since we’re already discussing this, let’s point out a few things, together:

  • AIDS is not a disease that only targets gay people, it can infect anyone who has unprotected sex.
  • You can’t be infected with AIDS by hugging, kissing, sneezing, exchanging tears, eating from the same utensils, thrown out oranges, etc.
  • Most people infected lately haven’t been gay people, rather straight people who they or their partners were not using protection.
  • People don’t die from AIDS anymore and instead remain HIV carriers (meaning it is no longer a disease outbreak).
  • With proper care, HIV carriers can live to be 90 years old (or more) and can have perfectly healthy children.
  • The disease has become a simple chronic disease (less severe than diabetes, for example).
  • So long as the carrier receives consistent care, they can’t infect anyone else. The virus becomes so weak that it cannot be detected in a regular blood test (from the carrier receiving the care).
  • The famous “cocktail” has been turned into one pill taken daily (or one shot, given every few months).
  • One can have unprotected sex if you take a daily pill known as PrEP, which prevents contracting HIV (but not other STDs).
  • If you are having sex (even protected) with different partners (even if you’re straight), you should ask your doctor once every 3 months for a referral to general STD screening which includes blood, urine, saliva tests, along with other forms of testing.
  • Did you have unprotected sex? Even if you’re straight, go immediately to the ER (you have less than 72 hours, no need for a referral) and you’ll get preventive treatment for exposure to the HIV virus: Several pills that need to be taken for 30 days.
  • Use a condom. No excuses! No “It’s uncomfortable”. No “I don’t want to ask”.
  • You can find more information here.




Seriously, isn’t this kind of a cry for attention?


You don’t become gay in order to get attention. That’s another result of homophobia – which usually leads to a lack of self-acceptance.

After all, if I showed up out of nowhere to a family event with a male partner in my arms. The staring, whispers, some would probably choke on their hors d’oeuvres, some would keep their distance and others would talk behind my back about how… I’m seeking attention – so either way that’s the result, and criticism will be criticism, no matter what primitive reason it has.




Honestly, would you take a pill if it could make you wake up straight tomorrow?


In the past, my answer would be yes, because I thought straight people had it easier in life.

Over time, I discovered that straight people, just like gay people, can also have a hard time in life, if not more. Add to that the face that I’m simply living my life the way I like and love (I wish we all can reach that level of true freedom), and for the most part I’m happy with my life, so what’s the problem?

I do not want to give up on being gay because that is a part of who I am. I am the person I am today because I was born gay. I love myself and I wouldn’t want to change or become someone who I’m not. Not outside or inside.




Seriously, would you want to have been born straight?


Usually, whenever I’m asked this question, people assume that my life would have been easier if I had been born straight. In my case that’s not really true, because I never had inner conflict, regrets, self-hatred or lack of self-acceptance. I also don’t see straight people who have it easier than me.

If anything, I would want to have been born as a privileged white man with a perfect metabolism, to a family in Kfar Shemaryahu with infinite wealth. Would that guarantee me an easier life? Maybe. But we can’t really know.




How does it work in bed? What does it mean to be active/passive? How do you know which one you are?


As a general rule: Just like you don’t want people asking about your sexual exploits and positions in bed, don’t ask gay people. I understand the curiosity, but that’s what the internet is for.

Regardless, active, passive as well as verse are all roles and positions in the bedroom.

Active = Penetrating.

Passive = Penetrated.

Verse = Both.

Side = Someone who doesn’t engage in full sexual relations.

I want to point out: Being gay is more than just being active/passive, it is a full array of thoughts and emotions that neither begins nor ends with what happens in the bedroom.

In order to find out, you ask your partner what his preferences are. Usually it comes up pretty quickly and early on, in order to understand if there is compatibility in that aspect as well. On certain dating apps there is an option to state what your preferences are.

Just like there is compatibility of intellect and appearance, gay couples also need sexual compatibility. Yet, I know quite a few couples where both partners have the same preference in bed. How does this work? They figure it out. They find solutions suitable to their relationship dynamic.

How do you know which one you are? There are some who feel the need to try both to know what feels best for them. There are some who discover the other way later and will want to mix it up or switch (either permanently, or for special occasions/partners). Life is dynamic. We can decide to be one way today and another tomorrow. Or both.




So, do you (or What does it mean to): Bite pillows/Stir cocoa/Hold onto sinks?


A lot of people say phrases like or terms like these without understanding what they mean, as if we’re still in the 90’s and Shalom Asayag is still making jokes about Romanians wearing tracksuits.

These phrases – and other types of inappropriate behavior which were seen among us up to the age of MeToo need to disappear. We’ve moved on. It is unacceptable to use these terms and I am definitely not about to explain what they each mean (anyone who really wants to know can feel free to reach out to me privately and I’ll explain their history and significance). The word “gay” also needs to return to its original definition and stop being considered an insult.

That being said, gay slang is slowly moving into the public domain, and anyone who needs help interpreting it – that’s what I’m here for! 😊

By the way, gay people, like any minority, are allowed to make fun of themselves, and can continue to use any term or name they want to refer to themselves, whether accurate or not.




I’m sorry you are “this way”


I’m sorry you’re sorry…. For what though?

On the contrary, you should be happy for me. I am who I am. I love myself and accept myself and my surroundings with love. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

We’re not in the 80’s-90’s anymore. Gay people (for the most part) are no longer pariahs, social anomalies, outcasts, whose friends and families abandon. The world has changed and advanced.

You can see us and others like us everywhere, not just in Tel Aviv, and in positions of significance – from military generals and ministers in government to popular singers, actors and TV hosts. Coming out of the closet is no longer an issue. There are over 15,000 LGBTQ families. We are not lonely or alone (at least no more than the average single person).

Let’s put everything out in the open. You knew. And maybe you thought this day would never come. That it would remain uncertain. Maybe you were more comfortable with me in the closet. But now, now it’s out there. It’s official. And now you need to deal with a situation that’s new (for you). So maybe that’s why you’re sorry. But that’s your problem. Not mine.




What happens in conversion therapy?


I never went to conversion therapy, but I’ve heard enough firsthand accounts of what happens in the so-called “treatment”.

In conversion therapy, the “therapist” (who usually has no professional training to grant him the title of “therapist”) will try to convince the patient that they are gay because their father/mother were too feminine/masculine, that they are suffering from some sort of trauma which made them gay. They will try and make them believe that an inborn quality can be changed.

It will begin with a simple request: To snap a rubber band on your wrist each time you think of a man (believing they can create a condition linking homosexuality to pain). When that doesn’t work, they will reprimand you saying you are to blame, that you aren’t trying enough, not making an effort.

He will make you increase the pain threshold (and out of frustration and guilt you can come to attempt suicide). They will ask you to masturbate to old, fat and wrinkly men who you don’t find attractive. They will force you to masturbate to straight pornographic films. Sometimes they will even ask to be present. Suddenly, the ends justify the means of masturbating.

I know quite a few friends who went through conversion therapy. Some arrived there simply because they hated themselves and wanted to change. Others were pressured by family or rabbis. Most of them came out permanently damaged. With emotional scars that hurt their family life, work life, relationships, in building a family and between themselves.

I know hundreds of religious gay people. I haven’t met a single one who said “I tried it, and the therapy worked! I’m straight!”. I have met those who the therapy “worked on”, got married and had children (and then proceed to cheat on their families in hiding), as well as cases of attempted suicide and successful attempts.

For more on conversion therapy, read here

Conversion therapy is mentally damaging and should be outlawed. Period. Don’t go to conversion therapy. Go to regular mental therapy with a licensed therapist to discuss your identity. They will assist you in living at peace with it in the way that is best for you.





So, you’re gay? What does that even mean?


Yes. I’m homosexual. Gay. Whatever you want to call it.

That means I’m attracted to other people of my gender, and – here’s the kicker – that means also emotionally.

It’s easy/simple to label the term “gay” as an insult, as a “sexual orientation” (a term which is flawed from its very origin), or to limit it to sexual matters only.

Being gay is not only a “sexual orientation” or a “romantic attraction”. It is an emotional orientation.

I’m not only gay in the bedroom. My homosexuality is expressed by loving another man. By my desire to be with him. To build a family with him. My heart is gay. My mind. All of me. I am gay with every part of my body, my feelings and my thoughts.

Have you ever been in love? Was it only because of what was between their legs? For your own sake I hope it wasn’t.

We fall in love through our hearts. Through chemistry. Through conversation. We fall in love with the butterflies they out in our stomach. With the feeling of their embrace. Because of who they are. Their values, their personality and their thoughts. The person themselves.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Gay = Men dancing in thongs on top of trucks. Sparkles. Confetti. Feathers. Ofrah Haza. AIDS. Drugs. Orgies. Sodom and Gamorrah. Abominations.

Stereotypes.

How many gay people do you really know, personally, not just as an image? How many of them are on drugs? Wear thongs? Carriers? Dance on trucks? Like every society, also the Pride community has a wide variety of people (for example, over 320,000 people march in the Tel Aviv pride parade fully clothed) and it has very vocal fringes (such as 20 men dancing on trucks). No 15 second video can capture the complex reality of the Pride community.




Are you sure you’re gay?


Yes. One hundred percent.

Without a shadow of a doubt. Never doubted it for a second.

At no point have I doubted that I was gay, neither have I had any pangs of guilt about it. I felt no inner conflict, no self-hatred, made no attempts (both futile and self-harming) to change my inborn orientation or any attempt to fight it. The opposite is true.

I know I am an exceptional case. I knew who I was, I knew I was gay, I knew what that meant and I lived being completely comfortable with myself from a very young age. I always accepted myself with love, in all senses of the word.

I should also point out, life itself is dynamic. This is who I am today. Just like you, my tastes and preferences can change. This doesn’t mean I will only be myself in the future. I used to not like vegetables at all, now they are a central part of my shopping list. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

This is an inborn quality that will not change. Just like you know you love the opposite sex (or not, we’ll get to that). Like your height, shoe size, hair or eye colour. You can’t become gay, and you can’t change it. You’re either born that way or you’re not. Think to yourself: Have you ever experienced anything which changed your basic attraction to men/women? Did you need to experiment with men/women to “be sure”? It’s the same way for gays. You feel it. You know it.




Why even tell us? Who cares?


In our family, there are certain topics that are off-limits (whether we are aware of them or not), perhaps due to the concern that this very cohesive family won’t be able to stick together, that everything will, God forbid, fall apart.

In the 33 years of my short, but eventful, life, I’ve seen what happens when we don’t talk: I was present and active in two shivas after losing family members.

But eventually, when things are pushed down, they float back up. Always.

And so, I’ve learned on my own flesh that it’s better to talk. Even to fight. To hear and be heard, even if it’s “uncomfortable”. I believe in opening the wound, digging into it, dissecting it, draining it, sanitizing it and sealing it well. Yes, it’ll leave a scar. Not concealed. Visible. So that we will see it, remember and learn from it. There is no taboo I will not discuss, and there never will be (I hope).

Why share this? Because it is a mission.

Anyone who thinks I am the only LGBTQ person in this family, that I am a unique case, is mistaken. First of all, statistically, that’s impossible (see the questions in the “Family” section). Secondly – I know and am aware of several other gays in the family (some chose to share with me; some I learned from other sources). So, if you are struggling, confused, afraid, curious, know that it’s alright! It’s ok to search in the dark and discover who you are until you find the answers that are right for you. And the answers you find are completely legitimate! You are who you are – and you are as perfect as can be. You are not the only one, and you are definitely not alone.

If you are gay, nothing will happen to you.

You can come out of the closet and be happy. You can be who you are and the sky won’t come crashing down. I promise. It is possible. To find true, mutual, love. To live free independent lives in every area (personal, professional, familial) and be happy and content. Those who truly love you, will stay by your side, even if it takes them some time (sometimes they may hide away for a little in the very closet you left – but that’ll pass). You are worthy of love, you are not alone, you never will be and you won’t end up on the streets.




Why do you need all this publicity and provocation? Do what you want in your room, privately


Asking me to be gay “quietly”, “not in front of the kids because they’re young” or “just in your room”, is basically telling me: “Go back to the closet and do what you want there”. Well that’s just not going to happen.

When gay couples hug, kiss, or just hold hands in the street it’s gross, vulgar, provocative, a bad influence, apprehensive, “What do they need to do that for?”, it offends people. But when a straight couple does exactly that – it’s romantic, loving, something that makes people smile. It’s not provocative. It’s simply love.

If I want to kiss, hug, caress or hold hands with my partner (or display affection in any other way), I’m going to do it, even in front of you and your children. Get used to it. That’s how it is. Just like your allowed to express love in public (and you do, even offhandedly, without noticing, even if you don’t think you do), so can I.

The rule is simple: Don’t ask anything form me you wouldn’t ask from a straight person.

And there’s another reason: To present a positive view, a beacon of light, to that gay person who is still in the closet, scared, thinking their lives are over.

Also getting married at a later age, mixed dancing at weddings, being a girl and joining the IDF, being a woman with a demanding career, living together long before marriage, were all considered “provocative” less than half a decade ago. What wasn’t considered provocative? Sexual harassment. It was even legitimate. Accepted. And not that long ago either. Only two year. Times have changed. Get over it.




I won’t let you be gay in front of my children/I don’t want my kids to know


Yeah, there’s a difference between knowing I’m gay and accepting it.

A lot of people get confused and think they’ve accepted it, up till the moment of truth when I hold hands or kiss someone else.

All these requests (“Not in front of the kids”, for example) are illegitimate because they ask one thing: Go back into the closet because seeing this makes me uncomfortable.

Let me be clear: That’s not going to happen.

Your kids won’t become gay by being exposed to me. It doesn’t work like that. It won’t awaken any dormant desires. You’re either born this way or you aren’t. The best possible proof for this: Most children of gay couples are straight.

Sexual orientation is an inborn trait. It isn’t influenced by any environmental, external factors. People, you’re born with it. It’s that simple. Like height, or body build. You can’t just become gay. You can’t switch or change. Your either born this way or you aren’t.

Anyone who says they fully accept me, needs to fully accept me. The whole package. There is no half-deal. No kind of. No partially. You either accept me, or you don’t. There is no way to hide the situation from your kids, and there is no reason to. If you don’t communicate this reality to your children (this will be addressed in a separate question), the reality will meet them at the next family event. This doesn’t mean I’ll be wearing thongs, with confetti and sparkles (this incredibly inaccurate stigma is addressed in a separate question), but on the other hand, just like our straight relatives, I don’t plan on hiding who I am or my partner and any children I may have (God willing). You wouldn’t ask this of them. There’s no reason to ask it of me.




“That’s not surprising”, “I knew it”, “Totally expected”, “I had a feeling”, “It was obvious”, “We could tell”


Let’s try and avoid those kinds of reactions.

No one is giving out medals to people who were “right” or guessed correctly. Sorry to say, but this isn’t about you. This is about whoever just came out to you.

Someone just shared something incredibly intimate with you because they felt close to you. Of course, there is no wrong or right reaction, but still, even “I accept you the way you are” isn’t the best way to convey your feelings, even if you have good intentions. How come? Because it’s a little condescending. Nobody needs your approval, least of all the person coming out to you. We aren’t doing this so you can legitimize us. We come out to you because we want to share something personal with you.

So next time someone shares something personal with you, simply thank them for sharing, which is not a given. Try not to dwell on the past: “Who else knows?”, “How did you know?”, “When did you find out?”. Try to focus on the present and future: “How do you feel about this situation?”, “Can we help and how?”, “Are you in or seeking a relationship?”.

Remember to express joy, optimism and hope for the future without placing to much pressure on them (“Any partner you have will be lucky to have you”) and simply speak form the heart.




We can’t host you anymore/You can’t come over with your partner


The gap between knowing I’m gay and accepting it is truly astonishing.

Many people believe they accept it and all, right up until the moment of truth.

I’ll make this easy, and with lots of love.

Whoever “accepts and loves me”, but can no longer have me over, or asks me not to tell their children, tells me to “not be gay” around them or not to come to an event with my partner – it simply won’t happen.

Just like you wouldn’t tell a straight relative not to come to a family event with their partner, such a request shouldn’t even cross your minds regarding me. Anyone who says they fully accept me, needs to fully accept me. The whole package. There is no half-deal. No kind of. No partially. You either accept me, or you don’t. Believe me, I try to accept you the way you are, even though I don’t always agree with who and what you are.

If you can’t do that, I’m sorry, but we can no longer have any sort of relationship.




How do we tell the kids?


First of all, there is no way your kids won’t know. They will find out eventually.

It is your choice, as parents, whether to explain this reality to them or not. If you choose to do so, consider every word carefully before opening your mouth.

From experience, the younger children are, the easier it is for them to accept a situation in a natural way, because they don’t have the same mental block and thought patterns as us, the adults.

The best example of this: Grandpa Emanuel. Despite the loss of his eye which was not replaced by a prosthetic after a serious car accident, we, the grandchildren (with the exception of one granddaughter), accepted it in the most natural way there could be. We accepted Grandpa like any grandparent, we hugged and kissed him. Most of us had other grandparents with a full pair of eyes. We had what to compare to, but nevertheless, Grandpa was who Grandpa was.

Kids have always been more advanced and progressive the adults (not only in the area of technology). Most of them have already encountered Pride families in kindergarten, school, on TV or the internet (and if you think there is no way that’s true – you clearly don’t know your kids well enough). Yes, it also happens in religious and even Haredi schools.

Each family has their own family dynamic. There is no one all-encompassing way to give this message.

It’s your choice as parents as to if and when to tell them, whether to sit them down for a conversation, to read them a bedtime story (there is no shortage of stories about different kinds of families, for example), or simply letting them encounter this reality at a family gathering. It’s your choice.

Hiding, on the other hand – you won’t be able to hide this from them.

Here are a few things you should not tell them: This isn’t our way; It’s against the Torah (that’s simply not true); This is what he is – but we don’t act that way; He’s family – but we don’t accept this; He chose this; This is terribly unfortunate for him; We pity him; We need to pray for him; You can’t choose your family (wrong!) and this is who he is and how it is etc.

Here are a few things you could tell them: Just like some of us were born with blonde or black hair, green or brown eyes, Evyatar was born as someone who loves boys and not girls; In our family there’s a place for everyone, and we accept them happily and with love, even if they are different form us; We’ve known Evyatar for many years, and we know many things about him, for example ___________, we are happy he chose to share this part of him with us.; In our house we can be who we are, and there is room for everyone; You probably know this, but it’s important for us to say this out loud: You can always be who you are with us and share with us anything you want, you don’t need to be afraid. You will always have a place with us etc.




How did you know you were gay?


You don’t need to know or experiment (with a woman/man) in order “to be sure” or “to know”.

Come on, deep inside you all know who and what you are (and if you don’t – it’s time to have that conversation with yourself openly).

Me too.

It may sound cliché’, but the answer is that you just feel it, just like you are able to feel who you’re attracted to (whether to one gender, several, some, or none at all – they’re all ok, they’re all valid!).




When did you know you were gay?


Always.

When I look really far back (I have a very good memory; for better and for worse) and retrace my behavior back at kindergarten age, I realize that already at the age of 3-4-5 I was attracted to boys: I wanted to be friends with other children who I was attracted to. I would seek their company and friendship.

Around 3rd grade it escalated: I remember telling myself there is someone very beautiful in class. I still didn’t do anything about it. I just wanted to be around him as much as possible, more than just friendship.




Tell the truth: Is being gay a choice? Did something happen in your life? Were you born this way?


For once and for all: Sexual orientation is an inborn quality. It is not a choice (were you born straight or did you choose to be?).

It is not affected by environmental or external factors of any kind.

I didn’t experience any kind of trauma.

Not even sexual trauma/

You don’t become LGBTQ because one parent was too “masculine”/”feminine”/”dominant”/”passive”.

I didn’t become gay because I lost my father or because I was left with only my mother.

Not because I’m the eldest child or because I met a gay man when I was young… I don’t know.

People, you’re born this way. It’s that simple. Like height. Shoe size. Hair or eye colour. You can’t become gay. You can’t change it or switch. You’re either born this way or you’re not. The same way you know you’re attracted to the opposite sex (or not).

Think to yourself: Have you ever experienced anything that changed your basic attraction to men/women? Did you need to experiment with men/women to “be sure”? It’s the same for gay people. You feel it. You know it.




Are you in a relationship? Do you have a partner? Have you had a partner?


I’ve had relationships.

Some of you even met my partners along the way. I’m a man of long relationships (from several months to good, long years spent together) – something that is not at all a given in our day and age, certainly not in the pride community. I know I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have amazing partners by my side, each one of them.




When did you start coming out of the closet?


You never stop coming out of the closet. In school, youth groups, army, university, workplaces, class reunions, family events – there will always be someone who’s not up to date.

Since age 14 I started coming out to people who were close to me who from the way of things I knew (whether consciously or not) would accept me, would shower me with love and fill me with confidence. Slowly but surely that circle began to widen more and more.




Why now?


Firstly, let’s stop the speculation. This has nothing to do with Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur or any kind of self-reflection and resolution. The timing is completely coincidental. My journey of coming out hasn’t begun now. I came out at age 14, including to members of the family (by the way, I never asked anyone not to tell). As far as I’m concerned, being gay is a non-issue and I never felt the need to hide it. I was never really in the closet. It was never a question of “if” or “when” but mainly – “how”.

Coming out of the closet is a conversation that usually can take up to an hour and a half. We are a huge family. That would demand from me an amount of time and energy I simply don’t have. I searched for a concept that is collective yet personal. For over half a decade I’ve been racking my thoughts for how to make this public (but personal) move for the family, in the best way possible, not just for me but for you (straights and gays alike). Many ideas and concepts were dropped along the way, until I arrived at this idea, which also took quite some time to put together, polish and fill with content.

So why now? Because I finally finished setting up the website.

I searched for a concept which would prevent embarrassment (from you, like there is in many face to face conversations), but still provides answers to all your questions (which from conversation to conversation begin to repeat themselves), including questions we don’t feel comfortable asking, in order to set the stage for an open dialogue.

There’s also the matter of being the first. I am the first openly gay member of our family. I am paving a path here so that those who come after me will have it (much) easier. And it will be. They won’t have to deal with all this mumbo-jumbo. If it were possible, I would sit each of you down and have a one-on-one conversation and answer all your questions. And it is possible! If you feel the need for a one-on-one-or-more conversation, feel free to reach out, I’d be more than happy!





Pride pride pride… What’s there to be proud of anyways in being gay? Why be so showy?


Pride is the opposite of shyness (or shame).

We are proud = We are no longer ashamed.

We are not ashamed of who we are. We will not apologize for how we were born. I am proud to be gay. I am proud of the way I was born. Proud I choose not to hide who I am. Proud and happy with who I am. I do not hide my identity. I do not apologize for it. I am a role model for straight people who have been imprinted with a false stigma, as well as for those in and out of the closet, as much as I can be.

A unique sexual orientation or gender identity is not a flaw or source for shame. Pride is also meant to encourage those who have not come out of the closet, who still feel ashamed, as well as those who have already come out, in spite of all the hardship they’ve experienced (if they have) along the way.

Our demand for full equal right, both legally and in practice, without needing to apologize for it, is a matter of pride. It’s not a request. Not a hopeful wish. The day we will be given full equal rights, without discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity, the day gay couples can hug, kiss, or express affection without being beaten or murdered, without it being considered “disgusting”, “a provocation”, just like their fellow straight people – then we will know our mission is complete. And we will be proud of that as well.




What more do you want? You’re already being treated better, already being accepted!


There is a huge difference between acknowledging and accepting.

A lot of people “don’t have a problem with gay people”, but the moment they see a same-sex couple holding hands, hugging or kissing – that’s considered “provocative” (what would they say about a straight couple doing the same thing?).

Acknowledgement – That’s an improvement.

Acceptance – We’re not there yet…

True, things will continue to change and improve.

Israeli society has gone through a relatively accelerated change regarding how it treats the LGBTQ community.

Up to the mid-nineties non-straight sexual orientations were considered grounds for violence, job termination, not being recruited or being discharged from the IDF and general discrimination and ostracization from society, family, workplaces etc. The police (as well as the medical community, by the way) treated us like an infected community which needed to be handled with gloves (not soft, silk gloves. Sterile gloves).

Nowadays, gays (for the most part) are no longer lepers, social outcasts, set aside from disgust, who’s friends disassociate from and who’s families abandon them to the loneliness and hardship of the world. The world has changed and advanced. You can see us and others like us everywhere, not just in Tel Aviv, and in positions of significance – from military generals and ministers in government to popular singers, actors and TV hosts. 15,000 LGBTQ families.

And yet, there is still much to do, change and improve.

The day we will be given full equal rights, without discrimination against sexual orientation or gender identity, the day gay couples can hug, kiss, or express affection without being beaten or murdered, without it being considered “disgusting”, “a provocation”, just like their fellow straight people, the day I am able to marry and become a father without needing to invest a fortune or travel to another country, on that day we will know we’ve been accepted, for real this time.




Why are there more LGBTQ people now than before?


The answer is simple: There aren’t more LGBTQ people now than before.

Ever since the 1940’s, research has shown, without any doubt or exceptions, that in every test group there are between 4-14% who belong to the LGBTQ community (not just gay, also lesbians, bi-sexuals, etc.).

By the way, even in more pro-LGBTQ cities and towns, where there is a more public presence of gay individuals and proud families, there aren’t more gay people per capita. Not even within the proud families themselves: Most of their children – are straight. In other words, sexual orientation is not an acquired quality nor is it contagious. One cannot become gay.




What’s the difference between gay and homosexual?


For the most part, there is no difference. In Hebrew homo = gay.

The word “gay” in English is a neutral term used to describe gay men and lesbians alike.

Unfortunately, the word “gay” in Hebrew, is a commonly used insult, even amongst children and even these days. Quite a few gay people will find it easier to say, “I’m gay”, as opposed to “I’m homosexual”, since it’s considered a neutral term without any connotations (positive or negative).

As far as I’m concerned there is no difference. I’m homosexual. I’m gay. I’m Evyatar.




What’s this parade everyone is always talking about?


The Pride Parade is an annual parade that takes place all over the world. Quite a few straight people (about half the people marching, if not more) march along side us out of support for the struggle (oh, also because it’s really fun).

Here’s what really happens in the parade in Tel Aviv: It begins with a memorable and colorful carnival with a big picnic for LGBTQ families. After which, a quarter-million fully clothed people begin to march (you’re welcome to join). Raising banners. Dancing. Just being happy. What you see on TV are the odd cases. What did you expect to see? The trivial boring ones? That’s not how you make the news.

In most places around the world, the general public doesn’t even march. The watch and cheer on the colorful parade from the sides of the street. By the way, in the Tel Aviv parade you’ll be able to see parade floats for LGBTQ families or the “Golden Rainbow” community (elderly LGBTQ people). It’s easy to look at the few floats that promote Tel Aviv party culture, but they are not the only ones and they are not the majority. The Tel Aviv parade is different from the ones in Jerusalem, Haifa and Rehovot, which are protest marches (oops, was that the sound of another stereotype being burst?).




Why do you need a parade?


It sounds better in English.

The Hebrew translation of the original English term (Pride Parade) is a little inaccurate. The source of the term “Pride” – “גאווה” is meant to be the opposite of “Shame”. Unlike heterosexual society, who in the past so the people marching and their supporters as sinners, members of the LGBTQ community are proud of their identity and are not apologizing or ashamed of it, they expect society to accept them the way they are – and that is why we march.

The parades have evolved into protests and demands for rights, and in certain places they still have a protesting quality (like Jerusalem), but in places which are more supportive of the LGBTQ community (like Tel Aviv) it’s became a colorful festival-like celebratioin, where pride flags are flown, dance music is played, drag queens will perform and more. These parades still carry elements of protest, political statement and education.




What is LGBTQ?


LGBT is short for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.

The term takes various sexual orientations and gender identities and unites them into one identity.

In recent years we’ve begun using the term LGBTQ (adding a Q for Queer).

It’s my belief that we will slowly transition to using the more positive term “Pride Community” which doesn’t place limits on who can be part of the “community”.

Sexual orientation (lesbian or gay, for example) and gender identity are two very different things, however, us in the community see each other as partners in the struggle against coercion and discrimination of gender roles which oppresses humanities diversity and uniqueness.

I personally believe we are born on a spectrum. Some of us are attracted to women, others to men, some a little to here and a little to there and others to both. Some more and others less. So, in a way, we all belong to the Pride Community.




Where are there parades? Only in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?


The main parades, obviously, take place in Tel Aviv (the party one) and in Jerusalem (the protesting one, you won’t see too many trucks there, for example), but not only there:

In recent years during pride month (June), hundreds of pride flags are being flown in cities all over Israel, and in addition many pride parades and events take place in Haifa, Be’er Sheva, Petach Tikva, Tveira, Afula, Beit Shemesh, Emek HaYarden, Netanya, Bat Yam, Givat Shmuel, Rehovot, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Eilat, Nahariya, Dimona, Harish, Pardesiya, Qiryat Ono and yes – even in Yehud.

Some cities will have a parade. Other cities will have different events (various lectures and panels, for example).

You’re welcome to come, listen, speak, share and participate. This doesn’t mean you’re gay. It means you’re human. We don’t bite.




Why does you’re flag look like that?


The pride flag is made of the six colors of the rainbow (from top to bottom: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet).

The colors in the flag represent diversity and equality: The beauty in the ability of different people to live together, side by side, in harmony (just like the different colors of the flag).

Reminder: According to the biblical story, the rainbow was shown for the first time in the sky to Noah after the flood, as a promise form God to never again destroy humanity for corrupting justice and morality. Discrimination of gender or sexuality – is injustice.

Committing murder at a Pride Parade in the holy city of Jerusalem – is unjust and immoral.





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What I've written above:

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To hear

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It's began with one teacher who's  accidentally entered to this site. She sent me a message with a request to lecture her students. The conversation with them, like this site, went by word of mouth.


More and more requests came from schools, teaching staff, workplaces, youth movements, parents/friends groups, and from anyone who asks and wants to hear.
 

When I meet them, I start with the story behind this site, the surprisingly and unexpectedly media exposure and the reactions that followed.

 

I continue with the dilemma of coming out: when and how and to whom, and give some tips how to deal if someone comes out in front of you. I will not end a lecture without all the questions will being answered.
 

The lecture is fully voluntary.

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