Gay Golden Globes

It was a very gay night in Hollywood. Okay technically Beverly Hills.  The Golden Globes was a night to celebrate Gays and lesbians.  With a major win for best picture for “The Kids are All Right” and a best actress nod to Annette Benning in that very film, lesbian family life was highlighted.  So too in the win by openly lesbian actress Jane Lynch for her character in the hit Fox show, “Glee”.  Lynch acknowledged her wife Lara Embry in her thank you speech.     

Also winning for his role of Kurt  in “Glee” was Chris Colfer.  He gave a wonderful speech that encouraged any kid who is bullied for difference to fight back. He said, “Tell them Screw that!”   This was very important because the issue of teen suicide and bullying has been so prevalent in recent months. So many young people have killed themselves because they were harassed and bullied for being gay or perceived as gay.   

Ricky Gervais the British host of the Golden Globes should be ashamed of himself however. In his opening monologue he made a “gay” joke implying Tom Cruise and John Travolta were gay although he didn’t mentioned them by name.  Instead he talked about Scientology. Their brand of religion.  Was this necessary? Was it homophobic?  Gervais, in my opinion, did a poor job as a host and this opening monologue “joke” was an example of his poor taste.

Never the less gays and lesbians continue toward increasing visibility as more and more films and television address our lives.  Kudos to those producers and writers and directors and actor and actresses that are willing to address our lives.

Here is my It Get’s Better video

We are still remembering the young people who died because they were bullied.  Some committed Suicide and were driven to relieve the pain of humiliation and hurt inflicted upon them by others.

Activist Dan Savage started the It Get’s Better Video Campaign as a way to reach out to LGBT and Questioning Youth who are in such a turmoil.

Below is  the link to my “It Get’s Better Video” .   Thanks to my friend Louise for helping get it done.   You might also want to see other’s including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rev. Canon Susan Russell and Bishop Gene Robinson.   Here is that link as well

Now here is my video.

Sendspace.com: BULLYING01.mp4.

McCance resigns on Anderson Cooper:

Clint McCance an Arkansas School Board member resigned over his blatant homophobia and threats against gay people made on his Facebook page. Anderson Cooper of CNN interviewed McCance and tried to elicit an apology from him.  But McCance didn’t apologize. He wiggled and wormed and couldn’t look Anderson Cooper in the eye.  Even Dr. Phil came on (dressed in purple by the way!) and spoke eloquently about the need for parents to embrace their LGBT and Q (Questioning) children.  He made an assessment that McCance’s words were not apologetic although he squirmed and tried to show some remorse. But McCance wouldn’t even commit to not using derogatory words about gay people in the future.

In his post McCance wrote:

They want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way I’m wearing for them is if they all commit suicide. I can’t believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid.

And in another post McCance penned the following:

“It pisses me off, though, that we make special purple fag day for them. I like that fags can’t procreate. I also enjoy that they often give each other AIDS and die…I would disown my kids they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off.”

Anderson Cooper asked him directly what would happen if his own kids were gay.  McCance couldn’t or wouldn’t really answer.  He couldn’t even imagine that scenario.

McCance in the interview with Anderson Cooper kept referring to his Bible.  Thank goodness for Dr. Phil who spoke of his own faith and “personal relationship with Jesus” and that his faith called him to include and welcome gay and lesbian bisexual and transgender people.  Hooray for Dr. Phil and Hooray for being able to speak in a faith language that addresses those who share that homophobic religious views of McCance.  Dr. Phil was able to say outright-that the homophobia of the Bible was outdated and outmoded way of understanding gay and lesbian people.

So once again. Thank you Anderson Cooper for your continued focus on the bullying of gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender people. And thank you to Dr. Phil for being willing to speak up for glbt and questioning teens and speaking to their family and friends for love and inclusion.

A midrash about Noah

Shabbat Noach

Genesis 6:9-11:2

A Midrash:

The earth became a wicked place.  People were harsh to one another.  They spoke cruelly.  They stole from one another.  There was no such thing as human kindness.  They bullied each other and drove some to murder and others to suicide. They humanity forgot that they were made in the Divine Image. The world that God had made and once said, “This is very good.” was anything but good.  It was brutal and violent.

 

God was so upset that God decided the world needed a make-over. It was time to tear the house down to the foundations and rebuild.  And to help in that process God chose Noah.

 

Noah was a good man.  Not a great man but better than most around him.  God asked Noah to save a specimen of all the plants and trees and seeds and animals.  God told Noah to build an ark, a big boat, because the earth would be purified and washed clean of the cruelty and evil of this generation.

 

So Noah built the Ark gathered his family and the animals and plants. And they waited for the cleansing rains.

 

God was so saddened because the people of the earth would not change their ways that God began to cry. God cried and wept and wailed for forty days and forty nights. God ached because the world that was created for became so violent.  God wept so much hat the tears fell from the heavens filling the earth, flooding the earth. God’s disappointment and sadness and grief brought a flood of tears and the waters rose carrying Noah and his family both human and animal across new seas. But God never once asked the people to be different. God didn’t communicate or call it to their attention. God didn’t even send Noah through the streets to say, Change, Repent; look at what you are doing to one another.  God just cried and cried and cried.

 

It took almost a half a year for the waters to recede enough. God cried a lot.

 

The ark finally landed on a mountain top.  Noah and his family both human and animal finally came forth.   And there in the sky God placed a beautiful promise; a beautiful rainbow of hope.  It was a sign for the future that God would ask and talk with humanity.  It was a sign to humanity to talk and communicate kindly with one another.  It was a sign that the world might change for the better so that there would be no flood that would destroy the earth ever again.  The rainbow is a sign that all people matter.  God understood it then and let’s hope that we understand it now.

 

The rainbow is that sign for us today-the sign of hope that even in a world when people can be cruel and brutal and violent we can change. We must change. We must talk and talk kindly to one another and respect all of life.

 

In memory of Tyler Clementi, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas and Seth Walsh and the countless young people who have died as a result of bullying for being gay or lesbian.

 

Bullying in New Jersey

This is a letter to the Publisher of the Jewish Standard who recently succumbed to pressure from the Orthodox community to retract gay and lesbian Jewish wedding announcements in that paper.

Dear Mr. Janoff:

I am deeply disappointed in your paper’s (The Jewish Standard) policy to exclude gay couples from  wedding announcements.  What happened to the notion of a diverse Jewish community?  What happened to the Talmudic ideal of “These and These are the voice of the living God”   Are you there to serve only the Orthodox in Teaneck?  If you are going to publish wedding announcements then you ought to publish them all.  The Jewish community is a diverse and vibrant world.  I would have hoped you would want to be a part of that vibrancy.

As President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis I am committed to the notion of Klal Yisrael.  Everyone in the Jewish community counts. Orthodox and Reform, Gay and straight, affiliated and not.   I try to work toward the goal that we are one people. We may have different ways of doing things. But I believe we are still one people. And I believe a Jewish newspaper ought to report on all of the Jewish community.

In a week where so much national attention has been given to the issue of bullying and specifically bullying of gay people your actions have added to this pain.   The Orthodox pressure that you received is bullying because of gay and lesbian Jews. Their threats are bullying.  For the young people like Tyler Clementi  of Rutgers University in New Jersey the pain was too great.

Your paper sadly has contributed to the pain and spiritual violence in the world by your actions this week.  In a week when we read from Parshat Noach and we read about a world that had to be destroyed because of cruelty and brutality, I wonder why you added to the world’s cruelty and brutality by your actions.  For the gay and lesbian Jewish community and those that love and welcome gay people into their lives your actions are cruel and dehumanizing.

How sadly ironic that the week in which we learn about the rainbow as a sign that God won’t destroy the world by flood again, a symbol that has been adopted by the gay and lesbian community as a symbol of its diversity and pride, you would destroy worlds through your words and action.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Denise L. Eger

Congregation Kol Ami

West Hollywood, CA

Don’t forget the young people

Don’t forget to show up tonight for the young people who were bullied to death.  The rash of recent suicides because young people were bullied for being gay is shocking.  It is time to make sure this stops.  Even as the religious wing nuts continue to want to demonize gay people. No wonder some young people are pushed over the edge. It is time for us to stand up for our LGBT and Questioning Youth.  No More. No more bullying. No more “It so gay” and have that be acceptable.

Evidently the new Vince Vaughn movie “The Dilemma” is using that phrase in the trailers.  WAKE UP HOLLYWOOD–STOP IT.  And stop show it now.

It is creating a culture of permission and reinforcing the use of oppressive language.

Tonight in West Hollywood Park (Robertson side) the vigil is at 7 pm.  Bring a candle and bring a friend.  The deaths of Billy Lucas, Asher Brown, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase is a national tragedy.  

Take the Pledge

Keshet in Boston put together this incredible list of Jewish community endorsers of this important anti-bullying pledge for Jewish communal institutions and individuals.  Can you take the pledge?

I have and Kol Ami has and the Reform Movement has; the Conservative movement, the Reconstructionists and so many more.  Please join this wave.   Sign by clicking here.

Let’s get 18,000 signatories.  Let’s start fresh for National Coming Out Day on October 11.  Let’s make our shuls, our temples, our JCCs, our Federations, our day schools and religious schools safe places.

Do Not Stand Idly By: A Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives

As members of a tradition that sees each person as created in the divine image, we respond with anguish and outrage at the spate of suicides brought on by homophobic bullying and intolerance.

We hereby commit to ending homophobic bullying or harassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations, and communities. As a signatory, I pledge to speak out when I witness anyone being demeaned for their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. I commit myself to do whatever I can to ensure that each and every person in my community is treated with dignity and respect.

Campaign launched by Keshet in partnership with:
Bay Area Masorti
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Cleveland Jewish LGBTQ2A Inclusion Project
Congregation Am Tikva, Boston, MA
Congregation Bet Haverim, Atlanta, GA
Congregation Beth Ahavah-Philadelphia, PA
Beth Chayim Chadashim Los Angeles, CA
Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)
Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York, NY
Congregation Beth El, Berkeley, California
Congregation Beth El Binah Dallas, TX
Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood, CA
Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco, CA

Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva Day School Alumni Association (GLYDSA)

He’bro
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs
The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
Jewish Gay Network of Michigan
Jewish Milestones

The Jewish Multiracial Network
Jewish Outreach Institute

Jewish Transitions
Judaism Your Way
JQ International
JQYouth
Kehilla Community Synagogue, Piedmont, California

Kehilla School
Kolenu, Seattle’s Young Adult GLBTQ Group
LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation, San Francisco, CA
Ma’yan
Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality
North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY)
Orthodykes NY
Progressive Jewish Alliance
The Rainbow Center, Atlanta, GA
RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Shalom Amigos, Mexico
ShefaNetwork: The Conservative/Masorti Movement Dreaming from Within
SVARA
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)
University of Washington Hillel
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies

Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community
Adas Israel Congregation, Washington, DC
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Congregation Bet Tikvah, Pittsburgh, PA
KOACH
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ)
United Synagogue Youth (USY)