By: Elazar Krausz and Rocky Pincus, Editors-in-Chief
In late September, just after the now-famous LGBTQ march that took place on the Wilf Campus, a friend of ours approached us with an idea. “As a gay student at YU,” he said, “I’ve never felt more unsafe on my own campus.” The publicity of the march had set off a rumble of discourse across the Yeshiva University community. Many people were supportive, but others voiced their political and religious opinions opposing LGBTQ rights on campus. Those people assumed that they were doing only that; expressing a detached political or religious opinion. But our friend experienced what felt like a barrage of personal attacks, an overwhelming message from those around him who did not know he was gay: “you do not belong here.”
“We need to do something about this,” our friend told us. “People need to know that when they talk about LGBTQ people, they are talking about their classmates, their roommates, and their friends. They need to know that we are here.”
That is the point of this issue. To let the YU community know that LGBTQ students are here, in every class and every shiur. To share their stories, because were they to get up in public and do so, they could face immeasurable consequences. The arts are a medium for empathy. That is our goal. Not to make political or religious or ideological statements, but to share, openly and honestly, the experiences of LGBTQ students at YU, in the hopes that the YU community will recognize the humanity in these stories.
We reached out to friends within YU’s LGBTQ community, and, with their help, were able to compile an entire issue featuring only the art and writing of LGBTQ students and alumni. Braided throughout the issue are quotes taken from online interviews we conducted, asking students about their experiences, from growing up, to coming out to themselves, to coming out to their family and friends. Most of our contributors are not out publicly, so we chose to keep our entire issue anonymous. Unfortunately, we have no way of sharing the stories of those who are still completely closeted. We can only hope that they see this and can find some inspiration, some comfort, in it.
A lot of dedication went into the compilation of this issue, and though we cannot thank them by name, we’d like to express our gratitude to all the members of YU’s LGBTQ community to helped make this issue happen. This is your project, these are your stories, and we feel lucky to have been able to help facilitate it.
To the reader: Go into this with an open mind. These are the stories of LGBTQ students, but they are also just the stories of everyday people. These are stories about growing up and finding your place, and about the all-too-familiar feeling of realizing you may not know where that place is. We hope, with continued efforts, that for all of us, that place can be right here.
Free resources are available for LGBTQ people at YU and otherwise:
If you want to reach out to current YU students to get involved on campus or for support, email the YU Pride Alliance at email@example.com.