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“the Amish Entrepreneur Show with Torah Bontrager” is a weekly seasonal podcast on re-branding the Amish and establishing a new generation of Amish leaders so we can get heard and add our contribution to the world.  The way we explore and execute on this is by bringing on to the show leaders in all areas of industry who can advise us on how to evolve, specifically through the vehicles of entrepreneurship and academia.  
 
The theme of last season, the pilot run, was turning tragedies into triumphs.  This season's theme is branding and education.  
 
What everyone on this show has in common is a story of trauma, hardship, or other challenges.  And last but not least, the underlying silent goal is to collect 1,111 stories of trauma, specifically sexual assault.  I believe that that number of voices speaking out is all that is needed to permanently drastically reduce the rate of sexual assault worldwide.

Mar 1, 2017

James Schwartz, author of The Literary Party: Growing up Gay and Amish in America, discusses coming out gay while still in the Amish church, his unconventional Amish education and current politics.  He and his southern Michigan Amish classmates were bussed into the nearest public school to attend classes from kindergarten to eighth grade where they received curriculums different from their “English” (i.e., non-Amish) fellow students.  James had a library card and rode his bicycle to the local library where he enjoyed unsupervised time and learned things about himself and the outside world that he would’t have had access to otherwise.  After James left the church, he was able to transition into the English world through the help of the gay community.  He went to gay clubs and began to write poetry.  James believes that people who leave the Amish community need to have more resources in order to help them transition into the modern world, and that those resources should be accessible without at the expense of being sold on a new fundamentalist religion.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:

  • The basic varieties of Amish (we’re not homogenous) 
  • James’ view on how the Amish church would accept its LGBT children and members
  • Resources for Amish gays who are both inside and outside the church
  • Torah’s take on Trump

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  1. James’ Facebook:  www.facebook.com/GayAmish
  2. James’ Twitter:  @queeraspoetry
  3. LGBT Amish:  www.LgbtAmish.com
  4. See S1Ep2: Fiona Teng on Growing Up as an Immigrant in California, Fatherlessness, Abandonment and Romantic Relationships for Fiona’s answer to the forgiveness question
  5. See S1Ep3: Sovilla and Lucinda Coblentz on Escaping the Amish as Young Female Teens, Wearing Lipstick and Seeking the Path of Personal Freedom for Sovilla’s insight on Torah’s pre-escape days