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“the Amish Entrepreneur Show with Torah Bontrager” is a weekly seasonal podcast that connects trauma/sexual assault survivors with amazing entrepreneurs who are making the world safer and aren't afraid to talk about their challenges/traumas in business and life.

My ultimate goal is to collect 1,111 stories of 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. And I believe that entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned and equipped to teach/inspire survivors to become financially self-empowered and free themselves from the 9-5 job-therapy-rent cycle that prevents them from capitalizing on their talents and skills.

Simultaneously, the show is about re-branding the Amish and establishing a new generation of Amish leaders so we can get heard and add our contribution to the world. We're taking back control of our narrative that is negatively exploited and butchered by mainstream media and so-called experts on the Amish (who are neither expert nor Amish).

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