Born as A Minority and What It Taught Me
I was born in USSR in a Jewish family. My grandmother always told me that it's okay to be Jewish, but I don't have to tell everyone about it. At the age of 10, we immigrated to Israel, where mostly we've been considered to be “Russians” and unwanted Minority.
At the age of 12, I realized that I'm gay, which is not accepted in both Russian and the Jewish communities. My final coming out was to my parents when I was almost 25. All these years I couldn’t be truly myself. Fear of being rejected by family and society was agonizing and paralyzing.
During the same time, I was struggling at school. My teacher suggested that maybe I'm dyslexic, but my parents who grew up in the reality of communism, were extremely prejudiced against a new diagnosis, especially if it's mental. It took me years to get my diagnosis and help that I've desperately needed.
Every step I took since early childhood, I was a minority, whether it was ethnic, social or at school. I remember looking at a society from outside and seeing it's flawed in such magnitude that it actually hurts.
In order to fit in, I had to lose a big part of myself, but it was too high of the price. After long and agonizing teenage years by trying to fit in, I finally found freedom and liberation of not fitting in. I’ve come to the realization that I can only be happy if I embrace all parts of myself and choose social norms that suit me the best.
I've found ways to overcome and use my vulnerabilities and disabilities to develop valuable skills that helped me to change myself and to better advocate for others. Empathy is the biggest asset that I took from my life experiences. I've found that most people are not mean, and not just trying to hurt my feelings, they're just ignorant. By explaining and educating people, that is how we change the society step by step, and then change the world.
Immigrating to Canada, was a very liberating experience. Here I could freely be myself and raise my child in more open and accepting diverse environment. With compassion and understanding each and every day, I and my family are trying to inspire people all around the world, thru YouTube, by shining the light on social issues and having open conversations.
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