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It's quite interesting being in two minority groups. Living in Los Angeles, I often forget being either Jewish or gay really makes anyone different. After all, 60% of the population of my school, Windward School, is Jewish. And although there may not be a similar percentage of gays in my school, there are many local gay politicians and showbiz professionals who are gay. Yes, many people joke around with me because it seems that we gays and Jews control the media and politics.

Like many kids from LA.'s west side, I attend a secular, progressive private school with a large Jewish population very accepting of the LGBT community. I came out three years ago, and I've yet to face harassment. Although I'm the only gay person in my gay-straight alliance, the club is thriving.

I'm a Reform Jew, which means I'm from a progressive sect of Judaism; we ordained women rabbis in the 1970s and LGBT rabbis by the 1990s, when ceremonies recognizing same-sex relationships in our synagogues became not uncommon. I learned about my sect's and my religion's close ties to social justice, and I make it my personal responsibility to give back to the community and help others achieve equality and respect.

Often I have difficulty working with LGBT youths in this cultural salad bowl. Most LGBT youths in need in this city are Latino or black and from low-income households. Whether trying to work with an inner-city GSA or just make friends at a gay prom, I face animosity because to many I'm just another spoiled Jewish boy from the west side. I understand why they feel that way, but it's frustrating.

My message is that you can make a difference whether you are in the closet, out, Jewish, or Christian.

--Goldman, a proud Angeleno, is 17.
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Title Annotation:GEN Q; social acceptance of sexual minorities
Author:Goldman, Joe
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Oct 10, 2006
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