I stumbled upon this letter in the JQY (Jewish Queer Youth) online forum. I found it to encapsulate many of the challenges that Jewish queer individuals must face, and I think that understanding and empathizing with these experiences will truly enrich our community.
I wrote to the group a while back to ask for advice after being rejected from a seminary due to the fact that I am a lesbian. Since then, I have started my semester at another seminary in Israel where I hope and pray is a better fit and more open to people at different growth levels. A few weeks have passed and so far so good, thank G-d!
Actual reason I am writing: Even though things are going well in my seminary, I am struggling to a great extent with the crossroads of being a lesbian and wanting so deeply to live a Torah life and to serve G-d to my best ability. I did read “yeshiva struggles thread” and found very helpful advice, but here is my situation which is a little different. We have discussed in class the distinction between our G-dly soul and our animal soul and for the first time in 3 years of being out and proud as a lesbian, I am wondering (even if just brief thoughts throughout the day), if G-d really does want me to be with a man? Is this a challenge I should work my whole life to overcome? I feel so lost!! I have always been and still am attracted to women 100% both physically and emotionally and it causes me great agony to imagine spending the rest of my life married to a man. However, I don’t know how I will ever live in a religious community and tell my children that G-d always knows what is best for them if I am not living it myself! I have opened up to some of the girls about this and have been supported emotionally, but I still feel like nobody truly understands the weight of this struggle, who can blame them! I want to have a happy family, filled with serving G-d through joy! Is that so wrong?
This crossroads, as much as I want to put it aside and learn all the other wonderful things our Torah has to offer, keeps creeping up in every class and at almost every moment. I am so confused and feel very helpless since I am unable to even begin coping with the emotions tied to this problem, let alone the problem itself. When I hear the words “animal soul” I just cringe! Just to put things in perspective, I am able to have fun, make friends, and learn a lot (I learned how to read Hebrew for the first time!) It is just that this issue is clearly holding me back from learning as much as I could and I am scared that I am in for a lifetime of battling crossroads. I am hesitant to discuss this with my teachers because I don’t want to get kicked out of the school. Advice anyone?
I wish you all a sweet new year with easy decisions and clear paths along the way!!