Gay Men News

Bringing the Best in LGBTQ to you

Gamal Palmer: On Being Black, Gay, And Jewish in America

Gamal Palmer: On Being Black, Gay, And Jewish in America image
Posted by Joseph on August 26, 2019

Gamal Palmer
This activist discusses the disbelief people express when they find out he’s Jewish.

As a young boy, Gamal Palmer — Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles — would sit in his local synagogue, wearing a yarmulke and in mid-prayer, as people would routinely approach to ask if he was Jewish. As a black man, his participation, even his presence, was treated with disbelief.

There are many stereotypes about Jewish people; that they are Black or People of Color is not one of them. In fact, a recent study found that the American Jewish community has been chronically undercounting the number of People of Color who are Jewish. They estimate the number is roughly 12-15 percent. 

Talking on this week’s episode of the LGBTQ&A podcast, Palmer says he has just now begun to feel comfortable voicing his blackness in Jewish spaces, and also talks about why he’s been comparatively less vocal about his sexuality. 

“A lot of it had to do with my own not wanting to lead with my queerness. Therefore, not only did I not lead with it, but I actually didn’t really explore it.”

[Click here to listen to the full podcast interview with Gamal Palmer.]

Jeffrey Masters: What is the typical reaction you get when people find out you’re Jewish?

Gamal Palmer: Well, tell me where you’re from. What are you? How did that happen? In some ways, I am Jewish because of my mom, but in other ways, I do have a unique story, if you will.

“Oh. Well, you’re not really Black,” is another thing that people will say.

JM: They use it to invalidate your race?
GP: Yeah. For some people, it’s just ultimately that the Jewish people are these Ashkenazi people. So, anything outside of that is not really Jewish. It’s differently Jewish.

I have to be careful just because we are in a really interesting time around this whole conversation where there are a lot of institutions investing in diversifying their staff, diversifying how they talk about Judaism, and how they promote what they are and what they do. We have a lot of soldiers on the ground who are changing hearts and minds.

We have a long way to go. I don’t want to make it seem as though there isn’t racism within the Jewish community, that there isn’t classism, but all that’s to say that we’re in an interesting time. We are luckily at a changing point.

JM: Growing up, did you see people of color reflected in Judaism?
GP: Never, no. When I walked into a synagogue as a kid I was constantly asked, “Oh, are you Jewish?” Even though I had a kippah on.

I could have that on and I could have on the cloth that you get from being bar-mitzvahed when you turn 13 and become an adult. I could be davening [praying], singing the songs in Hebrew, and somebody will actually stop me from praying to ask me if I’m Jewish. It’s puzzling.

It was really a lifetime of people doing a double-take. So, I’ve constantly had this experience of being watched or being observed or being noticed, because I was a man of color in the Jewish space, even though I am Jewish.

JM: Growing up in Judaism and being black, they were circles that didn’t overlap. Did you feel that way about your queerness?
GP: I absolutely think that my identity as a non-heterosexual male does not overlap with my Judaism. It comes up against often with my black identity.

Now, I think I’m finally at a stage in life where it is much more intersectional, much more fluid. I’m able to voice my blackness in a Jewish space, which is something that took a really long time for me.

I’ve never really been vocal about my sexual identity, it’s just kind of been what I have been.

JM: Why do you think you’ve not been as vocal about it?
GP: It wasn’t something I felt like I had to do, you know? Which is really bizarre, because…I came out when I was in eighth grade. The hardest thing to do was to tell my mom, but once I told her I really didn’t care what anybody else thought. I didn’t need anybody else’s approval. I didn’t get hers for many years later, but very much so loving and approving now.

I think maybe it was my own internalized homophobia. I was said comfortable with my sexual orientation or identity, but also was playing it safe a little bit.

JM: Were you that person that co-workers might have been surprised to learn that you were gay?
GP: Yeah, sometimes. I never hid it. I just didn’t talk about it. I had partners in high school. I mean, I had my first love for four years. Now reflecting, I do think that a lot of it had to do with my own not wanting to lead with my queerness. Therefore, not only did I not lead with it, but I actually didn’t really explore it.

I think that I wanted to be a person that was queer but didn’t act queer. Even though you ask other people and they will tell you they were very clear about me when I walked in the room, but I would say…as much as I may feel queer and that I’m wearing my queerness and expressing it as loudly and as proudly as I can, I do think there’s a difference between that and being of color, right?

Right now when we’re at such a time where we need to be coalition building and supporting and understanding each other’s pains and culturally specific communities. There is this other tension of understanding in the queer community to understand that the queer people of color have both the queer challenge and discrimination, and also the ‘of colorness’. The ‘of colorness’ cannot turn off or on.

JM: Violent attacks against the Jewish community in America doubled last year. How has that impacted the work you do?

Many young adults are already ambivalent about associating with the Jewish community or exploring their Jewish identity. Israel is a major point of contention for both Jews and non-Jews. Many people, including young adult Jews, compound conversations related to Israel. 

If I am Jewish, that means I support Israel, and if I support Israel, that means I support the Israeli government…but the truth is, none of these things are synonymous.

You can be Jewish and not support Israel, and you can support Israel, but not support the current policies of the Israeli government. But we live in a time where unpacking and appreciating nuance is becoming more and more challenging. 

JM: How do you think about Israel, in general, but also in terms of the conflict?
GP: You know, I have the opportunity to go to Israel at least every other year, if not more. I think that Israel is a place to really be studied by people and looked at in multiple ways, how Israel has been leveraged from various sides over the decades to benefit or attempt to benefit its surrounding and even distant neighbors and competing agendas internationally.

I’m not going to say my specific belief systems about Israel right now, but what I would say is that it’s a place that really is very special and what was created there is pretty extraordinary. It would be in everyone’s best interest to actually look to see, “How does that happen? How does that get accomplished? What can we learn from this?”

As we refer to America as an experiment, Israel is an experiment. I think that if people were to do that and take off whatever they’ve been taught to believe about the conversation, we can potentially make some headway in that conflict.

JM: I’d label what’s happening with certain populations of Palestinians there as human rights abuses. Yet for that, unlike other countries, it seems like people want to write all of Israel off in ways that we don’t for other countries.
GP: I know what I just said was half creative sounding, half ambiguous, half P.C., but ultimately what I’m pointing to are the nuances there. There are a lot of nuances from all sides. There is almost no desire or appreciation to look at those nuances.

I also think that’s a thing that’s happening, that’s pervasive in modern societies, right? Or at least in America. There’s a lack of appreciation for nuance and we’re not interested in there being something called a gray.

I think that there are biases on all sides that prevent people from making those kinds of comparisons or looking at the nuances. Unfortunately due to all sorts of decisions that are being made, both within Israel, within Palestine, and internationally, it’s only actually making that worse.

JM: What do you like the most about Judaism?
GP: Judaism is inherently designed from the actual Torah or Bible itself to understand that there are multiple perspectives on every topic. The way in which that philosophy and approach to life plays out, and now that I work in the organized Jewish world, it can be extremely maddening and feel crazy sometimes to actually be eliciting and allowing for all of these different perspectives to not only be said but actually to impact the direction of a decision.

While all of that can be very infuriating, it’s also beautiful.

It’s really what we say we want in life. We say we want to be inclusive and we say we want to broaden our perspectives and our horizons, so for there to be such a unique and substance of value around inclusivity of thought is pretty inspiring to me.

[Click here to listen to the full podcast interview with Gamal Palmer.]



Check out the original story here: The Advocate Magazine.



Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

Join a gay dating site where you can meet single guys from any town or city. Rely instead on Gay Dating Solutions to do the work for you! Don’t get fooled by free offers made by other sites. Gay Dating Solutions is offering a FREE 6 month promotion ABSOLUTELY no strings, request for credit card numbers, etc…it is the only site that is truly free to join!

Sign-up now: www.gaydatingsolutions.com

Download our mobile apps: https://appurl.io/jd0jaqp0

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GayDating101

Tweet us: twitter.com/GayDating101

Tags: #BigBankChallenge #BohemianKissChallenge #EqualityActJapan #StopAsianHate 2020 Olympics Aaron Schock Adam Castillejo Adam Rippon addiction ageism Aging AhTave AIDS Aime Wichtendal Alaska Alex Morse Almost Love America's Next Top Model American Medical Association Amy Coney Barrett Annise Parker Antes Que El Mundo Se Acabe Anti-Asian Violence Anti-LGBTQ ANTM anxiety Aptima HIV-1 Arizona Armie Hammer astrology At-home date Atlanta Atlanta Black Pride Atlanta Nightlife Atlanta Pride Atlanta Pride Run Austin Swink Austin Texas Backpacks for the Street Basel Abou Hamrah BFI Flare Bisexual BLACK GAY MEN Black LGBTQ Atlanta Black Lives Matter Black Love Bohemian Rhapsody Boston Boston MA Brian Sims Broadway bully Bullying California Call Me By Your Name Canada Capital Pride Capitalism Cason Crane Celebrity News censorship Chemistry Chemsex Chicago Chicago IL Chris Evans Christian proselytizing Christianity Christmas Christmas movie Christmas Movies Chucky Circus of Books civil unions Cody McCook Colorado Comedy coming out commentary compatibility Confidence Congress conspiracy theory Conversion therapy CoronaVirus COVID COVID-19 Covid-19 vaccine daddy Dallas Dallas Gay Bars Dallas Gayborhood Dallas Texas Danica Roem Daniel Harding Daniel Howell Date night dating Dating Apps dating rut dating tips DC Pride Dead to Me Denver Depression discrimination Disney Documentary Dolf Pasker Dolly Parton Domestic Violence Donald Trump Donna Price Drag Race drag racing Dustin Lance Black election Election 2020 Election Day Elite Employment Entertainment Entertainment news epidemic Fabio Fasoli Family family gatherings Film Finding True Love First Date First Date Etiquette first date ideas first date tips Flirting Tips Flirty Dancing Florida Fort Lauderdale Franklin Graham Freddie Mercury Garrett Clayton gay gay asian gay asian men Gay Atlanta Gay beaches Gay Boston Gay Chicago Gay Couple Gay Couples Gay Culture Gay Dallas Gay Dallas Nightlife gay dating gay dating advice gay dating app gay dating apps Gay Dating Solutions Gay Dating Tips gay discrimination gay film Gay Florida Gay Fort Lauderdale Gay Health Gay Holiday Movie Gay Houston gay kiss Gay Love Advice gay marriage gay marriage proposal gay men Gay Miami gay midlife Gay Mountaineer Gay Movies Gay New York Gay Nurse Gay Panic Gay Pride gay relationship advice gay relationship tips gay relationships Gay Scene gay seniors gay sex gay singles Gay Soldier Gay Travel Gay Twitter Gay Wedding gay weddings Gay Widower Gays Over COVID gaysian Gen Z Generation Z Georgia Gert Kasteel Ghosting GLAAD GOP Gorsuch Guy Vandenberg Gym Gays Haaz Sleiman Hallmark Halloween Hate Crime Health HGVT HIV HIV prevention HIV stigma HIV treatment HIV vaccine HIV/AIDS hobbies Holi-date Holiday Film Holiday Movies Holidays Hollywood Holyoke Homophobia hooking up hookup hookup culture Hot Vax Summer House Hunters Houston Texas Houston TX Hulu Ian Jordan Indya Moore Instagay Instagram intersex Intimacy Iowa Iowa caucus isolation It's A Sin Jake Gyllenhaal James Bushe Japan Jaymes Vaughan Jayson Conner Jeffrey Newman Jennifer Tilly Jewish Jewish persecution Joe Biden Jonathan Bennett Josef Salvat Jussi-Pekka Kajaala Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg JVN Jwan Yosef Karamo Brown Kristine Stolakis Lady Gaga Lesbian lesbian couple Let It Snow LGBT LGBT Travel Guide LGBT-Free Zones LGBTQ LGBTQ Asians LGBTQ Atlanta LGBTQ Boston LGBTQ Chicago LGBTQ Dallas LGBTQ discrimination LGBTQ employees LGBTQ Family LGBTQ Film LGBTQ Film Festival LGBTQ Films LGBTQ flag LGBTQ Fort Lauderdale LGBTQ Health LGBTQ Houston LGBTQ Miami LGBTQ movies LGBTQ New York LGBTQ NYC LGBTQ Pride LGBTQ retirees LGBTQ retirement LGBTQ Rights LGBTQ Seniors LGBTQ Victory Institute LGBTQ Youth Life Lifetime Lifetime TV Network Linda Warren lockdown London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival loneliness Love Victor Luke Evans Male Nurse Malik Brown marriage equality marriage proposal Marsha P Johnson Marvel Marvin Cortes Massachusetts mature gay dating mental health Mexico Miami Miami Beach Miami Beach Pride Miami Florida Michael Cashman Michael Henry Middle-aged gay men midlife Modern Family mormon Mr. Right Muscle gays music video My Gay Match NASCAR National Coming Out Day Nationwide Conversion Therapy Ban Neil Gorsuch Netflix Netflix Special Nevada New Year's Resolution New York New York City Nonbinary North Dakota Northern Ute tribe Nurse Appreciation Week NYC NYC Events NYC Pride NYC Pride 2021 Oak Lawn Obergefell v. Hodges older gay man Omander Omar Ayuso One True Pairing online dating online dating apps online dating tips online gay dating Online trolls Open Relationship Operation Hyacinth OTP Outfest Outfest LA 2021 Outfest Los Angeles Pan-African Pride pandemic Paper Moons Pat Robertson Pennsylvania Perez Hilton personality personality type Pete Buttigieg Pink Capitalism Poland Politics polyamorous polyamorous relationship polyamorous relationships Pope Francis Pose power bottom Pray Away PrEP pride Pride 2021 Pride Afrique Pride Flag Pride Month Prince Harry profile pic Puerto Vallarta quarantine Queer eye Queer Film Queer Films Queer Holiday Movies Queer Lawmakers Queer Love Story Queer Santa Queer Youth racism Rafa Olarra Rainbow Wave Reddit Relationship relationship advice Relationship Tips relationships religion Rep. Andy Biggs Republican retirement Ricky Martin rom-com Romantic Comedy Ryan Murphy Ryan O’Connell Samaritan’s Purse same sex marriage Same Sex Relationships Same Sex Wedding Same-Sex Couples Same-Sex Kiss same-sex marriage ban Schitt’s Creek Score Miami Score Nightclub Scott Evans Scott Wiener Section 28 self isolation self-care Senior Gay Dating Senior Gay Men senior gays Senior Prom Seven Summits sex Sex Education sex life sexual identity sexual preference sexual racism sexuality short film Shy Gay Guys Single All the Way single gay man Single Gay Men Single Gays Single Young Gays social distancing social isolation social media Social Security Somerville sports Stonewall Stonewall Riots straight men Super Bowl ads Super Bowl commercials Super Bowl LIV Supreme Court Switzerland Syfy Syria Tan France Television Tennessee The Boys in the Band The Center on Colfax The Christmas Setup The Eternals The First The Thing About Harry Threesome throuple TikTok Tom Daley toxic masculinity Transgender Travel Travis Shumake true love Trump administration Turner Free TV series Tweets Twitter Unconditional Love United Methodist Church US economy US Supreme Court Valentine's day viral video Virginia Washington DC Web Series Wedding Workplace workplace discrimination World AIDS Day World Pride young gay men Youth YouTube

Gamal Palmer: On Being Black, Gay, And Jewish in America – Real Gay dating

[…] post Gamal Palmer: On Being Black, Gay, And Jewish in America appeared first on Gay Men […]

Leave a reply

Related articles
image for Gay Relationships: How to Make True Love Last
Gay Relationships: How to Make True Love Last

Do you believe that love can last for eternity? Keeping your primary relationship healthy, positive, supportive and together isn’t easy. But it can be done. Here are ten tips on how to make your love last forever.

image for 7 Reasons to Visit Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Gay Capital
7 Reasons to Visit Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Gay Capital

Welcoming more than 1.1 million LGBTQ visitors a year, Greater Fort Lauderdale comes by its inclusiveness natu

image for How Syfy’s “Chucky” Series Ups the Queerness in the Iconic Horror Franchise
How Syfy’s “Chucky” Series Ups the Queerness in the Iconic Horror Franchise

That’s right: There’s a tender gay teen romance at the heart of Chucky, out creator Don Mancini’s TV series spin-off.

image for LGBTQ Pride Events in Atlanta This Weekend
LGBTQ Pride Events in Atlanta This Weekend

Lining up plans in Atlanta? Whether you're a local, new in town, or just passing through, you'll be sure to find something.

image for Dating and Compatibility: Which Personality Type Is Your True Love Match?
Dating and Compatibility: Which Personality Type Is Your True Love Match?

Gay dating can be challenging. Most single gay men turn to gay dating apps to help them find a partner, only to discover they are missing a crucial piece of the puzzle: personality compatibility.