On Friday night, Jan. 11th, Dean and I had the privilege of going to a wonderful dinner at Temple Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, NC, , where we had the opportunity to hear Mitchell Gold, the furniture designer, speak to a crowded room, made of members of the Synagogue, along with various Christians and other supporters of LGBT issues. Hosted by both the Temple and Faith in America (a non-profit that is against all religious bigotry against LGBT people), Mitchell spoke passionately about the plight of many LGBT teenagers in the States. As he reminded us all, 2 to 3 teenagers commit suicide everyday because they are LGBT, and do not have any hope for their future in a country that is, as Mitchell said, "dialing back" this country to a period of more intolerance, not respect, of all people, LGBT and straight alike. Along with our table, composed of people who self-identify as LGBT people who are reconciled evangelicals, PFLAG-NC, and Equality NC, the rest of the audience were members of the Synagogue. The reception of Mitchell's address? A standing ovation!
We had an opportunity to talk with him afterwards, and discussed the harassment/bullying that children of LGBT parents also face in this country. There is no denial that the harassment that my children have faced is similar to the bullying that LGBT youth face, which leads to this question: what is going on in our families, churches, synagogues, and media that promotes bullying and harassment of LGBT as normative and appropriate behavior? As Mitchell reminded us all, many politicians use language such as "traditional family" as code language of letting us know that we who are LGBT are not part of the "traditional family," even though the very definition and description is constantly in transition, and is different in every culture.
Thanks, Mitchell, for speaking out!