Taking off the Mask for Purim

This year's Purim marks three years since I started my incredible journey of coming out. Until three years ago I struggled in isolation with my identity as a gay man and an Orthodox Jew. I had spent the previous two years surrounded only by people who rejected themselves as gay and was part of the "ex gay" movement."

My first time attending a Purim event with gay Jews who had reconciled their faith with their sexual orientation and were living honestly and openly was really scary for me. I'll never forget the moment I walked into the LGBT Jewish Purim event at the Jewish Community Center on New York City's Upper West Side. Many of the other attendees were Orthodox or had grown up Orthodox, just like I had. The first 10 minutes were the scariest. I was self-conscious of the way I looked and the way people looked at me. I had constant questions running through my head. "Is the way I'm walking too gay or not gay enough?" "Can people recognize how nervous I am?" "Do they see my hands shaking?" "Are others as uncomfortable as I feel right now?" I couldn't believe that most of these people were gay and weren't struggling to change themselves. They were happy with who they were, and they were gathered to celebrate the holiday of Purim, a time where joy knows no bounds. Purim is marked by traditions of dressing up as in costumes, drinking, dancing and overall merriment.

 

Read the full article on Huffington Post.