Saturday, February 4, 2012

Being called "faggot" on Kingston Avenue

As many of my friends already know, last week, someone from the Crown Heights community called me a faggot on the main street of Crown Heights (Kingston Ave) and his tone was loud enough for the entire corner to turn around to see where that remark came from and who it was directed to. Although I really personally didn't get insulted, I have years of experience dealing with public bullies and I've grown thick skin, my 12 year old sister that was with me didn't just get insulted, she got pissed (in her own words). I actually know the person who did it, I know him since my childhood, and it doesn't surprise me that he yelled faggot at me in the street, he might have even thought it was a joke, but as was clear right afterward, it wasn't a joke.

You see, I have a 12 year old sister and she's my life. When I was ten years old and the youngest of five, my parents having a beautiful baby girl was the best thing that could have ever happened to me or my life. Despite our age gap, our ten year age gap, my sister has the personality of a 20 year old, the confidence of a girl who doesn't take crap from anyone, and the wisdom of a girl that knows what's right and ready to stand up against injustice. My activism for gay rights, orthodox gay people, and human dignity, is speeding up and gaining momentum, but I realized, that although my critics and enemies can't hurt me no matter what they say, it's the people close to me that I'm standing up for now. My sister, was walking in the street, proud to be my sister, knowing that her brother was the one who published the recent article in the Jewish Press about being gay in the frum community, and my sister was walking tall and proud with her gay brother.

It took my family years to get to the place that they're in now, supportive, accepting, and tolerant. The only one I always hoped would be supportive would be my little sister, in my mind she's kind of like a little me, a younger, stronger, more confident version of who I was when I was her age. But when my sister felt that sting, the sting that I used to feel when being humiliated in public for my sexuality, that's when I realized that I have to take on the issue of bulllying more head on and more direct. I posted the story to facebook, along with the gentlemen's name, and my friends and supporters took it from there. I know that some people messaged this person and told him that they didn't appreciate what he did, others wrote about it on walls of other people's profiles, along with groups on facebook that are against homophobia.

I will not let ANYONE try and bully the people who I love most. All the people who stand beside me know how ignorant some people can be sometimes, and sometimes ignoring someone might be the answer, but not in this case. My sister was offended, she wanted to go back and give him a piece of her mind, for how dare he yell such a disgusting thing out loud to her own brother. My sister's readiness to defend me is a glimpse of what I will do in order to protect the people that I love and care about. No one has the right to bring harm to innocent children, despite who their siblings, parents, or political affiliations are. What happened that Friday to me and my sister was bullying at it's best, but let it be clear, if you think you can just call someone something so offensive in public and get away with it, here's your wake up call: you can't, and you won't.

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