Posted January 05, 2011 | 44 Comments
I seem to be invited to an increasing number of speaking engagements. I usually find myself talking about growing up Jewish, Orthodox and gay, reading a short excerpt from my book, then taking questions and selling and signing copies.
I think the main reason I enjoy accepting these invitations is that the people seem genuinely interested in my experience as a child and young adult as I realized that I was gay and different in a radical way from the other boys at school.
I also enjoy taking questions from members of my audience, usually consisting of small groups – especially book clubs. Often the question period gives me insight into the experiences and viewpoints of other people. Of course, I receive tremendous gratification from the people who have already read my book and have enjoyed it.
However, I have some not-yet=achieved goals as far as giving talks is concerned. Speaking to woman’s and gay groups is no longer challenging. The groups I want to speak to the most include straight men and children. I want to explain to straight men that being gay is no threat to them. I do not believe that sexual orientation is something to experiment with. On the other hand, the sex drive towards whatever sex, is something that should be an aspect of character that is accepted.
As far as school children are concerned, I believe that there is still a suspicion of the “other”, of the unknown. Homosexuality should be presented as a mere variant in the human condition, not as something to be feared. Today, gay men and Lesbians have no barriers, at least not here in Canada; marriage, adoption, parenthood – they are all available.