Everyone knows, Uncle!

“Everyone knows, Uncle!”

What would you do if you’re entire hometown found out you’d been keeping a secret?

January 9, 2010 was a surreal day for Isaac Namdar, a Jewish surgeon living and working in New York City. That afternoon he received an e-mail from his nephew telling him not to come to synagogue that weekend and to stay away from the Sephardic Jewish Community he’d grown up in.

“Everyone knows uncle,” his nephew wrote.

Isaac panicked. Someone had discovered his on-line wedding album with pictures of him and his husband, Andrew. Okay so a handful of people had found out that he was gay. He would manage somehow.

But he was stunned to find out that over 5000 people viewed his online wedding photos and someone had hacked into his Facebook page and other assumed “private” digital files. The dam had broken. He was being swept up into a current of homophobia that included  being excommunicated by his rabbi the following weekend.

Isaac had never brought his husband, Andrew, home to the insular spiritual and cultural community he had grown up in. Different than his peers, Isaac chose an occupation that would take him away from the community. As a physician, he was able to relocate to the big city where he struggled for years with his sexual orientation. When he met and fell in-love with Andrew he stopped struggling. The two legally married in Connecticut in 2009. Isaac expected that he would continue to keep his community and his marriage separate, but on that fateful day the two collided.

Isaac and Andrew glimpsed an opportunity for education and seized it. They opened their wedding website up for dialogue. What ensued was two weeks of unbridled posts about homosexuality, Judaism, and God. It was an online town hall where people could hide under various profile names and share their true feelings and engage in a dialogue.

Some of the posts were thoughtful and supportive.

“Congratulations to you both and BRAVO for following your path. Kudos for choosing to embrace the way G-d created you. May you have a blessed and happy future as a family.”

“Mazel tov to Andrew and Isaac. What a gorgeous couple! I genuinely hope that you two don’t mind that your site has become a platform for a serious discussion about the value system in our community, of which I have grown to become a staunch critic.”

Some were predictable for a conservative religious community.

“We are an orthodox Jewish community which does not allow 2 men 2 get married. I’m sorry if that offends anyone. It isn’t close (sic) mindedness, it is who we are. It would be the same if someone married a non-Jew.”

 “Homosexuality is not in line with Judaism, but neither is shaming a fellow man.”

 Others were just plain stupid.

 “Suck cock Jewish Father and everyone else who aggrees with the Gay ways.”

“Is he so gay that he couldn’t get it up for a woman even if he tried to?”

(Um, isn’t that sort of the meaning of gay for gay men?)

After a couple of weeks Isaac chose to shut it down and to turn these posts and his experience into a book. You can order his book In This Day and Age?!: A Community at the Crossroads of Religion and Homosexuality through your local bookseller or online.

Presently Isaac is speaking out at temples and spiritual conferences about his eexperience. Issac hopes that his story will foster more understanding and respect between religious leaders and their LGBT congregants.

In February 2011 I did a tele-seminar interview with Isaac. The interview will be included in my upcoming CD Package-How to Come Out of the Closet And Into Your Power or you can download the interview How to Survive Being Outed and What to Say When Someone Tells You That You Can Change!” at https://www.davinakotulski.com/workshopinfo.php?w=20

Isaac said that if he had been younger or a more insular member of his community and not had the kind of outside support he had as a successful surgeon, this experience might have caused him to commit suicide.

I want to honor Isaac for his courage to take a terrifying situation and creating an opportunity for others to grow. Isaac you are a Love Warrior!

Remember a hero isn’t someone who does not have fear. A hero is something who does something courageous despite the fear she or he feels.

Take a moment to reflect on when you’ve been a hero. What did you do even though you were afraid? Acknowledge yourself. Being an LGBTIQ person or a straight ally often means being true to yourself and doing things even in the face of fear.

 

 

Seventh-Day Gay Adventists

Thursday I spoke at the Kinship Conference in Pomona, California about equal rights for LGBTIQ people and how communities of faith can make a positive difference in the marriage equality movement. Kinship, an International 7th Day Adventist organization, around since 1976, champions human rights for all people. They believe that “everyone is created in the image of God and that no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.” http://www.sdakinship.org
On a side note, the conference was held at the Kellogg Conference Center at CalPoly. Kellogg of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Kellogg was a Seventh-Day Adventist himself. Observant 7th Day Adventists do not smoke, drink or eat meat and like Orthodox Jews they observe the Sabbath from sundown on Friday night until Saturday evening. This is the cool thing about having a book tour that focuses around outreach to spiritual communities, I get to learn a lot about different religious and spiritual traditions. I enjoy doing outreach so that others can do “inreach” in their communities.
The morning’s conference featured Fritz Guy author of “Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-Day Adventist Perspectives.” http://www.sdagayperspectives.com Professor Guy, a straight ally, elder in the church, and observant Sabbath observer, spoke eloquently to the international audience of fifty practicing and former Seventh-Day Adventists about love. That God loves everyone and there’s nothing that can take that love from us and nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less. He emphasized that the true teachings of Jesus were about love.
Professor Guy praised the audience of LGBTIQ people for their continuing to show up with their families and communities in a place of love even when they are treated unjustly and when their church communities don’t practice the teaching of their own faith. While more scholarly than charismatic, Guy’s words echoed the words of Dr. King in Strength to Love. We must continue to love. Our liberation comes from loving the “unlovable,” loving those who have hurt us. Loving those we call the opposition. There is truly power in that.
Following Professor Guy’s presentation a short film entitled “The Last African Taboo” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVp8V1npqyk
was shown. The film shows first hand accounts about the radicalization of Ugandan Christians against homosexuality by the influx of American Evangelicals, especially leaders like Lou Engel of Focus On the Family who also created his own organization The Call which is radically anti-gay. My friend and colleague, Karen Ocamb, has written about him in previous Bilerico Posts http://www.bilerico.com/2008/11/listening_to_the_call.php
Another speaker at the conference was straight ally and filmmaker Daneen Akers. Daneen and her husband, Stephen Eyer, former Seventh-Day Adventists themselves, are working on a new film “Seventh-Gay Adventists.” http://www.sgamovie.com The movie covers the complications LGBT people face within the Seventh-Day Adventist church and the challenges their families face coming to terms with love and loyalty to their family members versus church doctrine.
Religion continues to be the biggest weapon aimed at LGBTIQ and same-sex loving people and why I will continue to do outreach into spiritual communities because this is where the final “battle” will be one. But it won’t be won by making people wrong or calling people bigots. It will be won with love, opening hearts and minds, one person and a time.
Congratulations New York!

 

Gay is Good and Coming Out is Powerful!

An Attitude of Gratitude We still have such a long way to go before LGBTQ people are equal global citizens, but ’tis the season to count ones blessings and I want to recap how all love warriors can have an attitude of gratitude this holiday season as we continue to advocate for equality under the law and equal dignity and respect. This year marriage equality became law in Washington, DC, Mexico City, MX, Portugal…

Click to continue reading

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Put the “Gay” Back in the Marriage Debate This month I had the chance to the guest blogger on the Petralis Files. Michael Peteralis’s Blog is the VETERAN GAY AND AIDS HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE. Here’s what he had to say: “The other day I exchanged emails with Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., longtime gay marriage advocate who’s been involved with the Marriage Equality USA org and married to activist Molly McKay, about how we don’t hear “gay is good” enough, if at all, from our professional advocacy groups and leaders. Davina told me she has a “Gay Is Good” sticker on her car, and I asked her to write up a guest column, addressing the need to clearly say the word gay in our marriage campaigns. RISE UP LOVE WARRIORS

CLICK HERE TO READ RISE UP LOVE WARRIORS ———————————————————————-

Out Politician Tells Her Story

Join me December 1st with Oakland’s youngest and first openly lesbian City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan for a one-of-a-kind FREE coming out teleseminar where Rebecca a will share her secrets for being an “out and proud” public figure! What better way to kick of Chanukah then with two dynamic Butch Jewish Lesbians sharing their Tips on Being Out and Powerful. And it’s FREE. If that’s not a miracle I don’t know what is. There are a limited number of call-in lines, so register now! HURRY! Click Here to Register Now Date: December 1, 2010 Time: 2:30PM Pacific Standard Time/ 5:30PM Eastern Standard Time Location: Your Phone Register now to get call-in details. ———————————————————————-

Give the Gift of Equality The Love Warriors Book makes a wonderful holiday gift for veteran marriage equality supporters and those still on the fence.

ORDER LOVE WARRIORS NOW

But hey, don’t take my word for it—check out these NEW reviews on Barnes and Nobles!

Barnes and Noble’s Love Warriors Reviews- Five Stars

The Quintessential Book on Marriage Equality

“Dr. Davina Kotulski has written the quintessential book on marriage equality! Every reader of this outstanding book will be able to intelligently discuss the personal and political barriers and triumphs to this world-wide civil rights movement. Buy a copy of Love Warriors for yourself, your family, co-workers, and friends. Education is the gift that keeps on giving!” –Laurie York

Becoming a Warrior

“Marriage is not just a word. It’s a word embedded in a whole cultural system that we are at once asked to participate in, yet be excluded from enjoying ourselves.” Davina Kotulski’s book, Love Warriors, delivers a passionate message to the eyes and ears of equality activists. Her writing is engaging and reminds readers that at the heart of fighting for marriage equality is the basic respect and dignity for all humans. Her powerful words elicit a pure emotional response of willful anger and determination. After reading this enlightening testament of love you will feel full of spirit and guidance towards taking action. Kotulski’s book is a complete package beginning with crucial information containing a witty and flavorful touch. She directs…” –E Brennan

Read entire Barnes and Noble’s Love Warriors Reviews- Five Stars ———————————————————————-

TUCK AND PATTI

And if that wasn’t enough good news to share already, it thrills me to no end to have had the opportunity to give the inspiring musical husband and wife duo Tuck and Patti a copy of my new book. Tuck and Patti wrote the song Love Warriors that inspired the title of my book and they played the 2004 National Marriage Equality Rally in Washington, DC for free. They are huge marriage equality supporters! Here’s my happy photo, as one friend said, a love sandwich with me in the middle! ———————————————————————-

Thank you friends, readers, and love warriors for all of your support! Dr. Davina Kotulski Psychologist, Motivational Life Coach, and Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (2004) and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail (2010) DavinaKotulski.com lovewarriorsthebook.com