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Gay and Orthodox.

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Tonight is the annual Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance, celebrating Jerusalem’s LGBTQ community, which often stands in the face of adversity among the religious citizens of the Holy City. In anticipation of the main event, we sat down with Daniel Bukobza, who shared with us his inspiring photojournalism project, “Our Faces.” Here’s what Daniel had to say:

Growing up gay in the Jewish Orthodox World had more than just one challenge: not only was I struggling to accept myself, but I was also constantly striving to be accepted by my family and community. Coming out during my time in Yeshiva created a third challenge, as it meant living openly in a society that did not accept me.

Although I felt like an outcast, I came to realize that there are many more like me. Together with friends and the organization Havruta, we created the project, “Our Faces,” which portrays Orthodox gay, lesbian, bi or transgender people, along with their stories. The project is powerful because it allows these individuals to get their stories out there and become humanized. Eventually, the project progressed to become “Our Faces, Together,” which included close friends and family who support the Orthodox LGBTQ community – all of whom are heterosexual and identify as religious.

I hope this project inspires others to come out of the closet. Hopefully, the religious community will gain understanding that we all are the same, and this project will bring hope to all those who are still struggling with their identity.

Read more about Havruta here

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