I was just talking to a friend of mine who shared epiphany that she had with me. I would like to share it here.
My friend told me that a pretty right wing Orthodox friend of her’s son just got engaged. Apparently they are thinking about getting married In August (three months from now) but they are getting a lot of pressure from their Rabbonim and some other people to get married sooner. A mutual friend of the chatan’s mother told my friend that the mother isn’t really worried because as long as they follow certain “gedarim” of how often they speak to each other and see each other they should be ok.
In case you’re following along at home and don’t fully understand, the adults in this engaged couple’s life (Yes, I’m sure they’re adult’s too, but I’m taking a bit of leeeway here) are concerned that they will be engaged for such a “long” time because they might get physical with each other. Other adults are less worried because they will set up strict parameters for this couple to be sure that they don’t put themselves in situations where this might happen.
The right wing ultra orthodox community is actually being very honest with themselves in this situation. They recognize that people have needs and desires. And they recognize that once a couple meets and starts to spend a considerable amount of time together, their desires will take over and it will be hard to ignore them. Whether you agree with how they choose to “fix” this “problem” or not, at least common human feelings are being acknowledged and not ignored.
Which brings us to my friend’s epiphany. Here is exactly what she said to me*, “We can’t trust these bnai and bnos torah to keep their pants on till August, but we expect LGBT people to abstain for a lifetime?!?”.
This was an amazing comparison. People are willing to acknowledge human nature only up to a point. I don’t know if it’s once again because of halacha, homophobia, or the lack of desire to understand or empathize but wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to recognize what is considered normal human nature in straight people and acknowledge it in LGBT people? If only.
*This conversation was held via text so I feel comfortable giving a direct quote.