A Plea for Tolerance

As we see in the media all too often, homosexuality is one of the most highly debated social issues of our day. At an age when people begin exploring, questioning, and experimenting with their sexuality, I constantly hear different opinions and views on the topic. Growing up in a Jewish community, I’ve been exposed to all sorts of sides of the debate, but I haven’t been satisfied with many of the arguments.

Perhaps many of us have seen how the word ‘gay’ is thrown around only too often. The term now comes hand in hand with situations that don’t work out as planned; it is immaturely used as a label in a variety of bearings. But in addition to that, many teenagers will often pretend to be gay, or experiment with homosexuality during certain stages of development. I do not think that it is necessarily wrong, as long as those people are experimenting and not disrespecting the value of those relationships. Belittling gay individuals is just the same as minimizing the force of straight love. Love is love no matter what.

One of the strongest arguments I’ve heard against homosexuality in the Orthodox community is based on the biblical dictum against it. An argument like that, one that is agreed upon by more than one religion, most definitely has an impact on our views. Rabbis sometimes decry being gay as being as equally forbidden as assimilation, a so-called total annihilation of Jewish values and belief.

While I believe that it’s impossible to circumvent the halachic scripture against homosexuality, there are important moral considerations at play. Personally, I believe that being gay is just as beautiful as being straight. Love is not something that need be tangible or explainable. For those who claim to have experienced love, many of us realize that it has different meanings for different people. When someone finds love in a human being of the same sex, how can we try to destroy that? How can we not support something so pure, even if it was once a traditionally intolerable passion?

If the past few decades of American culture have made anything clear, they have showed that being gay, just like many other emotional feelings, is not a person’s choice. While we can contain our own actions, we can not possibly believe that we have the right to control what other people do with their bodies. Don’t they deserve happiness, love, and beauty in the same ways as straight people? We are all made up of cells, muscles, and tissues, the ingredients that make us essentially human. We all have a brain that is so extremely intricate and mind blowing. But most of all, we all have a heart. A heart that yearns to love.