A personal blog by a graying (mostly Anglo with light African-American roots) gay leftist leaning liberal progressive fit married college-educated former Baha'i NPR-listening Professor Emeritus now following the Dharma from California to Minas Gerais, Brasil.
A few months ago I wrote this letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of Brasil:
A Assembléia Espiritual Nacional dos Bahá'ís do Brasil
SHIS QL 08 Conjunto 2 casa 15 - Lago Sul CEP 71625-220 Brasília/DF
My name is Daniel Orey. I live in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais. Both my husband and I have been professors here at the Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto since 2011.
In 2009, when we were still living in Sacramento, California my voting rights were removed because of my marriage (08.08.08) to Milton, my non-Bahá’í Brazilian husband.I later resigned from the Faith because I was hurt by feeling treated as a 2nd class citizen by the Bahá´ís, and our deep disappointment with the Bahá’í Administration in regard to its inability to welcome and protect all people from prejudice.
I am still happily married and living with my husband here in Ouro Preto, in fact, this year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary together, and our 10th as a legally married couple. The Brazilian government has allowed me a permanent visa because of our marriage and I have applied for dual citizenship. The Consulate General of Brazil in San Francisco and the Federal Police have always been encouraging, inclusive and welcoming to us, I spoke about this in 2013 in a TEDx talk, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anZNPNEgmUs
My husband and I are both tenured professors. Together we have spoken at numerous international congresses, and participate in research groups in Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Nepal, Ohio and California. No one, but the Bahá’ís, seem to have a problem with our status as a legally married couple.
Recently, when discussing this dilemma with a gay Bahá’í, he informed me that now, there is more tolerance within the Bahá’í community for gays and lesbians. He said he was discussing this with other LGBTq Brazilian Bahá’ís and that there is no problem anymore with LGBTq Bahá’ís and that we would be welcome and will not face any prejudice.
I am somewhat surprised by this.
My point in writing is this, I am curious if the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Brasil is able to respect my marriage to my non-Bahá’í husband and therefore accept me and other LGBTq people in similar circumstances, that is as full members of the community. In so doing, would I be required to divorce my husband?
you are, if you have a true and sincere mind, if you are not careless
in the least, if you do not go along with what worldly people do, but do
the contrary, then you will be able to attain the benefit of Buddhism.
I would say that most of us stay locked in our separateness and we are very frightened of coming out of it, we feel very vulnerable. In truth you’re not vulnerable at all. Who you think you are is vulnerable. Who you are is not vulnerable. This is the truth of it.