Lately, I been thinking a lot about the name and goal of my blog — giving people hope, helping to create a brighter future for others in our communities and trying to send the powerful and life changing message that, just because some people might reject you for who you are, it is not you who needs to be changed. Molly Resnick’s behavior was something I could not be silent about. Such behavior is something that no one should have to tolerate silently. Such attitudes must be addressed and stood up against. I believe, sometimes, you Gotta Give 'em Hell.
Giving 'em Hell might seem like responding to bullying with bullying, but it is not. Loud, public, well-respected but utterly unrespectable voices like Ms Resnick’s cannot be the only ones that are heard. My post about what she did has brought a lot of readers and a lot of attention, especially from within the Chabad movement. I am still impressed that a Chabad Shlucha could not keep silent about it either. Not too long ago, I was dealing with daily bullying and shaming in the Chabad community; I personally never imagined that one of its leaders would come to my defense. People are talking, and things are changing. That gives me hope, and I hope it encourages others.
Giving ‘em Hope is my only goal, even if sometimes I have to give others some hell. I believe it is necessary to discuss the attitudes and behavior that would shame, embarrass, disenfranchise and harm minorities. Nothing changes unless it is first exposed. A more open dialogue allows for the awareness necessary to put an end to baseless discrimination and attacks against gay people, victims of sexual abuse and the many other groups of people who have suffered greatly.
Yesterday, I challenged someone on Facebook to confront me publicly regarding his very disrespectful messages that I should not discuss certain things. He hasn’t. He had originally reached out to me on Facebook because he heard about my work and wanted help networking with other gay Jews. I gladly helped him and was taken aback by his hostility and threats: "Watch me turn your whole image into a false reality that is you." Even though he would not show me the same respect, I chose to provide minimal detail regarding who he is in order to protect him. I understand that he was raised in an ultra Orthodox community that taught that everything must be kept hush hush and we must forgive people even if they took away some of the greatest part of our livelihoods; it’s unfortunately very similar to the community in which I grew up. But, the idea of simply forgiving people by remaining silent on behavior and attitudes that harm others is a draconian and barbaric one. That is not forgiving, nor is it forgivable; this idea must be given up. Remaining silent about harm only tolerates and perpetuates the intolerable. It is beyond me how people could be more concerned with insisting that victims should keep quiet and forgive — “not sue another Jew” — rather than with not standing idly by while others are harmed.
Today, I want to challenge him to inspire. I believe we must give people hope and empower, console and help them see the brighter and more beautiful future that awaits them despite the seemingly impossible situations that people might find themselves in just because they are different. I invite all of you to share your own stories of hope, to inspire others and to improve or even save just one life.
Sometimes, I feel like I've lived through several life times, but I am only 22. I'm try to engage people in discussion in order to gain a better understanding their opinions and motivations, and ultimately, how to bring an overall positive message that's both hopeful and intolerant of intolerance. Gottagivemhope was born six weeks ago one weekend morning while I was pondering how in the world am I going to say all the things that I feel must be said — to gay youth, Orthodox people and everyone generally. I believe we must not only tell people that it gets better, but also actively try to make it better now. So, I started this blog and have seen a response that continues to surprise and inspire me.
Always, I appreciate your comments and feedback, both public and private, and I want to encourage you to share your messages of hope.