There is also controversy over sexual orientation in Jewish synagogues throughout the United States. Although Orthodox Jews believe that homosexuality is an abomi­nation forbidden by the Torah, conservative Jews are more likely to welcome all sex­ual orientations. However, many synagogues refuse to consider gays or lesbians as rab­bis. Reform Jews tend to be the most accepting toward gay, lesbian, and bisexual members.

There is also no real consensus about gay and lesbian relationships among the vari­ous Buddhist sects in the United States. Buddhism differs from traditional Christianity in that it views behaviors as helpful/nonhelpful (whereas Christianity views behaviors as good/evil) and looks at whether there was intent to help or not. As a result of this, Buddhism encourages relationships that are mutually loving and supportive.

Recently, religious scholars, both homosexual and heterosexual, have begun to pro­mote arguments based on religious law and even scripture for a more liberal attitude to­ward homosexuality. For example, some Jewish scholars have argued that because ho-

. Where Do I Fit In?Подпись:

. Where Do I Fit In?
Подпись: I was always a lesbian. The fact that I happened to be raped didn't change that in any way. I don't hate men now, and I didn't then. And I don't hate the person who raped me, either. I can finally recognize the role that homophobia played in shaping who he was and how he behaved. The only reason I have included this is because I want people who read this to realize that homophobia doesn't just hurt gay people. It hurts straight people, too—straight people like the guy who raped me because he wanted people to stop calling him a "faggot." College was an amazing time for me. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by gay people. I wasn't alone anymore, and it felt incredibly liberating. By my junior year, I knew that I wanted to come out, once and for all, but I was terrified that it would kill my parents, literally. I wanted their love and approval so badly, and all I ever wanted to be was the "perfect" daughter. This is where I feel fate/God/karma intervened, and it changed my life forever, in countless ways: My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and was given 6 months to live. I was crushed—I couldn't imagine life without her. But as strange as this sounds, her diagnosis was a gift to both of us, because I realized I could finally tell her I was a lesbian. Why? Because I knew it wouldn't kill her—she was already dying, and it had nothing to do with my sexual orientation. No one could possibly blame me. Shortly after she was diagnosed, I picked up the phone and called her. I said, "Mom, I have something to tell you and it's really difficult. . . I'm gay." There was a pause, and then she started crying. She completely lost it on the phone and after an hour or so Подпись: she calmed down and told me she loved me and sup-ported me, no matter what. From that day until the day she died, I told my mother everything. We talked for hours on the phone every day, trying to make up for lost time, both past and future. I came out to everyone in my life—friends, professors, classmates— and began living my life as the person I had always been inside. . . . Once I decided to be out in every aspect of my life, everything in my life began to fall in place. I am now in a committed relationship of four years, and we have a 2-year-old son through adoption. . . . We struggled with homophobia during the adoption process of our son because of state laws prohibiting gay and lesbian adoption, but with persistence and with help from other gay couples who have adopted, we were able to bring our son into our family. We live our lives as an openly lesbian couple, and our son knows that he has a Mama and a Mommy that sleep in the same bed. Our families are incredibly supportive, and we have a loving circle of extended family and friends. Life is pretty good for me now, and I am comfortable with my life as a lesbian. . . . As comfortable as I am with myself and my life, I try not to let myself become complacent, because I realize that the coming-out journey won't be any easier for the next generation if I don't work to change the way gay and lesbian people are perceived and treated today by living myself proudly, openly, and without shame. SOURCE: Author's files.

mosexual orientation is not a free choice but an unalterable feature of the per­sonality, it is immoral to punish someone for it (Kahn, 1989-90).