When I came out to my mother as gay, I was in my 40’s. I had finally come to the long-fought decision to come out to my family if I ever landed in another relationship. When I did, I sat down with her, and she took it better than I thought she would. Her reply was, “I think I knew all along. I was just hoping it was a fad.”
At the age of 63, it’s no fad. And 8 years after my mother died, I came out again, this time as a Jew. While I would give almost anything to have one last conversation with my mother, to see her again, I’m glad I don’t have to try to explain her to her that I’m a Jew. Because, you see, I’m going to Hell. And it would be Her Fault.
So, spared that last conversation, I very easily converted – well, after it took me three tries to find the right rabbi, but the right rabbi I did find. The rabbis at my Reform synagogue in the East Bay have been super, everything you could have asked for as a lesbian or gay man, or as any Jew, actually. Kind, warm, accepting. Completely accepting. Their constituents are sometimes another story. But it’s a work in progress.
Some people typecast me as Ellen DeGeneres, others as someone who would love to tell lesbian stories (you know, with sex ‘n stuff), and others ignore me completely. This is my community. They’ll get used to seeing me, get used to what lesbians look like and sound like, ones like me and ones who are completely different (because it’s really hard to stereotype us). And as more gay men and women join, we’ll just be as common as the other Jews around temple. I look forward to that day.