Why this observant Jew is proud to be a ‘pervert’

I am profoundly proud of what the LGBTQ community has achieved and of what we are yet to achieve. I will be marching in Jerusalem to express that pride, but also to protest that which is shameful and abhorrent.

Yehoshua Shohat Gurtler

Last week, a prominent Israeli rabbi who heads a mainstream Yeshiva referred to queers as “perverts.” Another –  the incoming IDF chief rabbi, no less – called us “sick.” Their remarks were merely the latest in a long list of similar expressions by rabbis and religious leaders throughout Israel. The public debate around these statements, coincidentally corresponding to the height of the annual “Pride” season, has re-focused attention on Thursday’s Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance.

One of the more obnoxious criticisms leveled against the “Pride” movement and against pride parades is expressed through variations on the theme “What are you so proud of?” It is obnoxious because it belittles millennia of persecution and violence suffered by LGBTQ people, because it marginalizes the daily terror and abuse many continue to face around the world and because it flippantly dismisses the debilitating shame experienced by so many queer people (indeed, not so long ago even that term was pejorative, until being reclaimed by a community celebrating diversity).

Having been asked the question countless times, I’d like to list the things of which I am personally so proud:

I am proud of the loving relationship and of the home I have built with Lior, my partner of 15 years, and our amazing children. I am proud of our family members – those who have always supported us and those who have overcome their initial inhibitions to become steadfast allies.

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