Orthodox Parents, United by Love of Torah… and Our LGBT Children

A series by Jewish moms and dads with LGBTQ children.

When a child comes out, a coming out process begins for the entire family. In honor of Mother’s and Father’s Day, we bring you our second post in a series by parent leaders of Keshet’s Parent & Family Connection. The Connection is a confidential peer support program for parents and family members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Jews. We celebrate the support and love that these parents give their LGBTQ children – and the support they now offer other parents. This week’s post is by “MBSD,” an Orthodox parent from Baltimore, MD. You can read the previous post in this series, by a mother of a queer daughter in Colorado, here.

Creative Common/Martijn van den Broek

Creative Common/Martijn van den Broek

A peaceful Shabbat walk in the woods. I neared a bubbling brook, stood on a footbridge and gazed down at the streaming water, contemplating the beauty of Hashem‘s creations. I saw a wide bed of rocks of various shapes and sizes. There were boulders to the left, boulders to the right, even some in the middle. Together they formed their own community; each rock was an integral part of a whole entity that had a beautiful stream flowing through it. It was a metaphor for the ideal harmony we’d like to see in our Jewish communities. We are a people that share the same religion yet come from different backgrounds with different viewpoints. Still, we’re all connected by our love for Torah, that stream of energy that unites us.

In some cases, though, our differences seem to disenfranchise us from the greater community. Such can be the case with families of children who are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). In a lot of Orthodox communities, families, such as mine, feel as though they must hide this fact from others. As though telling the truth would bring about alienation, and highlight the way in which we are different from the mainstream. We didn’t ask for this. Our children were born this way, b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of God. For reasons we may never know, God, in His infinite wisdom, created our children with a sexual orientation or gender identity that is not what we expected.