ARTICLE 4 minutes

Yuval Samburski and German Henry

May 10, 2024

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Is Being Queer a Superpower?

Yuval Samburski and German Henry reflect on what it means to be Queer, in anticipation of Omega's 2024 Queer Pride Weekend.

Featuring Yuval Samburski and German Henry

Omega: This is a question you ask participants at the beginning of your workshop. What is being Queer? What is it for you?

Yuval: To me, being Queer, is being YOU, whatever and whoever you are, unapologetically, on any levelsexually, as far as your gender identity, your relationship preferences, as far as your expression (artistically, how you dress/look), and so much more.

A queer person follows their own heart, with respect but with no consideration to what “rules” and constructs society pushes on them. And in this regard, I consider us, queer folk, as the luckiest humans on earth!

So many people live with constant pressure, trying to please people they love, people they admire, people they work for, putting their own selves to the sidelines. That is very heavy to carry through life and will have consequences on one’s health. Queer people, in my mind, have the opportunity to be better connected to ourselves (our true selves) and to our authentic hearts’ desires. 

Omega: You have said that discovering your own identity as a queer person can be confusing. How did you find your own identity as a queer person? 

German: Coming from a very conservative country, where LGBTQIA+ conversations are still largely considered taboo, my identity as a queer pansexual cis male was not a smooth and intuitive journey. I had to go through a whole process of deconstruction and rebuilding to allow myself to explore what these notions of self meant. The confusion, in my case, did not stem from the discovery of who I am. Instead, it came from letting go of what I thought I should be. 

Yuval: Actually for me, it was not so hard, I am happy to report. I moved to New York City right before I turned 19, and placed myself in an environment that was nonjudgmental, where everyone had freedom to explore and express. It was very healthy for me. But I keep learning, through the LGBTQIA+ work that I do (affinity circles and programs), that this can be very hard, not only for older generations but for younger generations just as much. 

Omega: Are queerness and spirituality connected? And if so, how?

Yuval: A lot of our participants seem to sense that there is a connection but cannot put their finger on what it is. And so, German and I ponder and converse about that a lot. I feel that as queer people, we can be more connected to pure and authentic parts within ourselves.

Standing strong in your true, creative, and expressive self, your sexual and gender identitysometimes against the constructs and pressure of society and mainstream ideasmeans that you must connect to a purer part within you and dig in for authentic answers from deep within. 

Studying yogic methodology teaches us that through all the teachers, meditations, practices, and scriptures, we ultimately find the answers deep within us. We all have veils, but the answers lie deep within our hearts, the seats of our souls, and bliss reveals itself when we connect to our higher selves. 

And so I truly believe that us, queer folk, can be a real inspiration for others. Inspiration on how to connect and listen to the deep needs and whispers within us, on how to trust our own Shraddha—our inner wisdom—on how to stand strong with our visions, beliefs, and our “against mainstream” opinions. 

Yuval: I always considered myself lucky for being a gay man. I would always compare what I was being taught with what I felt inside, which gave me another point of view. This point of view helped shape my uniqueness, my brilliance.

Omega: What spiritual practices may have been part of that process?

German: Yoga (to meditate and connect with my breath), dance (to meditate, express, and be unapologetically myself), pranayama (to regulate emotional peaks and valleys for the sake of harmony), and art (for meditation, a voice, a channel, a connection).

Yuval: Yoga! Creation, art, dance. … Singing will always be my first love, that definitely always helped. 

Experience Yuval Samburski's sound healing vibration and movement.

Omega: When/where was your first Pride parade? Have you ever led one before? What makes it an important ritual? 

Yuval: I have gone to Pride parades for years in NYC and was always shaken by the beauty and rush of seeing unique and beautiful beings all expressing themselves fully and celebrating each other with so much love. 

I have watched Pride parades in places like Tel Aviv grow from two floats and a truck to 150,000 people on a beach. It’s fab! It’s important to be out, to be proud, and to inspire others to do the same. 

For our Parade at Omega, we will march, we will sing, we will dance along the campus, and end this celebration with a beautiful, spiritual, fire ceremony supporting all of our intentions prayers and needs at the time. 

German: My first Pride parade was in Berlin, Germany. It was amazing and fun. I have never led one, but I am excited and ready to do so with Yuval. Is a pride parade an important ritual? Yes. Why? Hundreds of reasons, but the one that stands out the most for me is building community and connection to strengthen our voice and intentions collectively. 

Sometimes we feel that in order to shine like a star, we need to be perfect. But no one is. And perfect is not beauty; beauty often shows up in the imperfections, in the off-balance, in the realness, vulnerability, and grit.
Yuval Samburski

Omega: You say, “Bring your scars, for they have made you who you brilliantly are.” In your experience, how have scars been transformed into brilliant stars?

Yuval: Every experience we go through leaves an imprint on us. Sometimes, we don’t like it and we deem it as a scar, at other times, we welcome it with pride. I’d like to argue that ALL imprints are beautiful, all are ours to keep for life. That's not to minimize the impact of systemic oppression, discrimination, and trauma, which are real and affect us differently depending on our particular constellation of social identities. But hopefully there is growth in going through hard and unpleasant stuff just as much as we do the joyous stuff. 

Sometimes we feel that in order to shine like a star, we need to be perfect. But no one is. And perfect is not beauty; beauty often shows up in the imperfections, in the off-balance, in the realness, vulnerability, and grit. 

That’s why I believe that talking about “letting go” could be tricky. We don’t want to let go of what we have been through. We want to celebrate and own it, we want to digest what is necessary from the experiences and eliminate what is not. And if we all wear with pride, all of our imprints, our “stuff,” our imperfections, we will all realize that no one is perfect, no one is symmetrical. In our uniqueness, we all truly shine, in our vulnerability, we inspire others to be as bright. 

German: I think this relates to universal chaos and order. It may sound outrageous, but I do think all our experiences are opportunities for our souls to learn, update, and metamorphose. With that in mind, everything we live, good or bad, can become a tool for us to thrive and with that bring much-needed newness to the world we live in. 

All beings deserve to be happy and free. Are you? Ask yourself that. And know that we will never judge your decisions. We are here to hold space, for you to figure out your path, in your own way, in your own time. 
Yuval Samburski

Omega: What would you say to someone who may be reading this, and is grappling with coming out for the first time?

Yuval: There is nothing more rewarding than living your life, as free as you can possibly be, shining your true colors, being proud of your authentic self. The process may be hard (we call it “Tapas” in Sanskrit: accepting a tough or a hard challenge in order to evolve and purify, to become a better you), but it would be totally worth it. I promise you that.

All beings deserve to be happy and free. Are you? Ask yourself that. And know that we will never judge your decisions. We are here to hold space, for you to figure out your path, in your own way, in your own time. 

German: Trust yourself. Go for it, and be prepared to have uncomfortable, comfortable, and empowering experiences after.

Omega: Describe the value of coming together in community with other queer spiritual people.

German: So much value can come from such a community. Off the top of my head, the relief that comes with being understood and being seen with kindness. Sharing deep wisdom is a powerful thing! Creating a unified voice can help us stand strong in the chaos of the contemporary sociopolitical climate. The knowledge that we can learn and evolve about the infinite human expressions that exist or could exist. 

Yuval: We are not alone, although we all feel alone at times. The value of being with a community that understands you, other beings who speak the same language as you, of being in a space where you feel like you can express yourself fully and without judgment, is immense. The value is too grand to try and express. 

Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Omega