Just watched the movie Trembling Before G-d. Chris had posted on it before, and it's been on my list for a while because of its relevance to my personal situation. It's a movie about orthodox and Hasidic Jews who are homosexual.
It was... nice. I guess. I think I've maxed out on the whole religion vs. sexual orientation debate as an interesting novelty to explore, and that's what the movie seemed to depend on. As I watched I kept thinking, I've thought about that... yup, that's true... well, that's not how I think of it... that guy is smart... that guy is annoying... etc. The point is, I've already got opinions on pretty much all of it. There wasn't much new to chew on.
Having said that, I think the movie would be very new and shed lots of light on the issue for 99.9% of the population. Unfortunately, I think it's one of those biased presentations that ignores the minority of folks who are actually able to deal with the friction between their faith and their sexuality and don't have regrets about it. There were several married folks in the film who were living the orthodox life, but they seemed to hate it. And everyone seemed to feel like somehow they were being cheated. I don't feel that way, as anyone who reads here much would know. I now have a gay but faithful Muslim acquaintance (read: abstinent from gay sex) who feels the same way. Surely there are Jewish folks too?
I wonder if it's just easier to maximize the issue by milking the false dilemma. "I tried to change for years, my religious leaders told me how to do it, and it didn't work. What can I do now? Am I to live my life without a loving companion? Does God expect that of me? He can't! Not the loving God I believe in!" This reasoning is a lot more dramatic and heart pangy than saying, well, actually some people figure stuff out and although there's no magic recipe to make it work, it's not the hopeless futility it seems. And yes, God still loves you even when some of the realities of life seem harsh and unfair. But his love doesn't magically make those realities go away. There were subtle denials of any such possibility of middle ground in the movie. Various people would assert things like "celibacy is impossible" and spout anti-ex-gay sentiment without explanation. Labels like "marriage of convenience" are more amenable to the false dilemma than obnoxious notions like celibacy, happy mixed orientation marriages, or ex-gay.
One problem is most people can't deny the false dilemma without appearing homophobic. The shrieking starts, "How can you be so insensitive? How would you like it if... [insert heterosexual analogy of sexual denial here]? You have no idea what it's like."
Folks, I know what it's like, and I, for one, am irritated that people can't be allowed to form opinions on the issue that involve taking a tough position without being made out to be a homophobic ignoramus. It's the last resort trump card: "You're not gay, so you can't know what it's like."
I am gay. Your powers of trumpiness are thwarted! [Queue evil laughter.]