Young, Gay – and Amish

One man tells his story

“If an Amish youth comes out to his parents and says ‘I’m gay,’ then they really don’t have any choice,” says James Schwartz, a gay man who was raised in an Amish community. “They’re going to have to leave. Unless they choose, of course, to stay in the closet.”

The Huffington Post recently talked to Schwartz, who shared what it was like living in the religiously conservative enclave where most communication is cut off with the outside world (no TV, radio, Internet). As shows like TLC’s Breaking Amish go behind the scenes of the secretive community (there’s an enormous Amish population just an hour west of Philly in rural Lancaster County) it makes us consider what coming out must be like for young people like Schwartz who risk being shunned for being honest about who they really are.

Here’s his story: