I'll Tell You Something About Being a Jewish Gay Militant

I'll Tell You Something About Being a Jewish Gay Militant

By Roberta Miles

I’ll tell you something. That mental hospital that I worked in, when I was 18? Well, I did hang out in the midst of and with some pretty interesting characters.

So, the director of the hospital calls me into her office one day. Graciously she asks me to sit down. Calm but with a quiet force I could see in her eyes, she told me — no, commanded me — to stop hanging out with the lesbian woman that had befriended me. She was worried. Worried that I would become one of them. They recruit you when you’re young. Especially a girl like me.

Oh no, I thought like in the armed forces? I would be wearing a uniform and holding a gun? Especially a girl like me? A girl like me. Yes, a Jewish girl. Oh no, they recruit Jewish girls. Or wild girls. Maybe that was it. Or curious girls. Yes. Or chubby girls.

I didn’t know what she meant.

And I’d be gay. What would my parents think? What would my friends think?

Wasn’t this going a little overboard? Why couldn’t I hang out with whoever I wanted to? And why should this woman care?

Needless to say, I continued to hang out with this interestingly weird woman, a lesbian, who was always so nice to me, polite and attentive. I already had a boyfriend. But he had a lot of problems and our relationship had taken a dive at that moment.

I talked with my new friend about him and she knew that I was head over heels in love. She would be empathetic, reassure me that he would get better one day. One day far away. But, as she listened, I would see her get pissed off and I think part of her wanted to kick his nuts out. I never doubted that she could.

But it wasn’t a love match, her and I together. She wanted a serious girlfriend. I kept trying to convince myself that it could be me. But that was pretending. She was chivalrous and gallant, and I liked that put on macho thing, just not on her.

She did get me to her apartment one night. Wooed me to her bed, I with the worry that I was going to be recruited into something I didn’t want. It was true that I was chubby, true that I was curious, true that I was wild, and very true that I was Jewish, and in a minute or two I might even be gay.  

She requested a back rub and I gave it to her. I think she was hoping for something more erotic. When the massage was over, she pulled me on top of her and we started to kiss. She was not a pretty girl. She was a fake boy. An odd boy. A mixed up girl. And she was mixing me up to.

I don’t remember the kisses.

I do remember her gentle hand. I’m lying in the bed with the blankets pulled up to my ears. In this cold poorly decorated, bedroom, I start to feel really lonely, really sad. And she seems sad too. I get up, pick up my clothes from the floor and get dressed. We both know that I’m going to go home and I would never see her again. We both knew that we would avoid running into each other, at all possible costs. She knew that she scared me; the situation scared me, even though she tried so hard not to let it.

So I got on the bus headed toward Western Ave, towards home. My mother waiting at the door with unending questions. Why are you late? Where have you been? Who were you with? And the prize question of all, why didn’t you call?

And as I hung my coat in the coat closet, I got the feeling that my mom could see right thru me and she knew something was wrong. But she would never know that that was the night I had just become a gay militant, a wild and crazy Jewish gay militant.

And so, I have kissed a few girls along the way, worked my hand up into their private parts. It hasn’t always been fun; rather confusing, but spice is the core of my being. And without that jumble of experiences and emotions I would just be a drab, drab soul who comes to the party empty handed, someone who left the goodies in the car.

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