Meet Josh Scheinert
“I hope the book challenges people. I want countries who mistreat LGBTQ communities to confront their prejudice.”
The right words, conveyed through universal themes and relatable experiences, can have a profound impact on readers and affect our perception of the world we live in.
Josh Scheinert discovered this for himself as he struggled to convey a message he felt compelled to share- that of international LGBTQ rights.
Josh grew up in Toronto and graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. After graduating, he spent a year teaching international and human rights law in Gambia. There, he noticed the contrasts between his life in Toronto, where he was free to live openly and express his identity, in comparison to Gambia, where he remained in the closet because of Gambia’s homophobic laws and culture.
After spending the year living closeted in Gambia, Josh returned to Toronto wanting to help educate others on the persecutory measures taken by the Gambian government towards LGBTQ people.
Josh began writing on the subject but found that academic research and op-eds weren’t getting to the essence of his concern with the matter: the human element of it all.
Educating through the telling of a story solved that problem. The Order of Nature tells a story of forbidden love between two males in Gambia, where there is a law that imprisons people who identify as LGBTQ for up to 14 years.
“I just want the average reader to understand. At the end of the day, the book is a love story. It’s also very much a story of people and place and belonging and identity, and how we relate to those we perceive as different.”
Within these themes, Josh manages to convey his message to a broad audience. “I hope the book challenges people. I want Gambians to read it and see the cost their prejudice and bigotry takes on LGBT Gambian people. I want countries who mistreat LGBTQ communities to confront their prejudice.”
Many people who read the book didn’t know that it was a depiction of reality. “It’s been nice to show people the truth. The more aware we are the less ignorant we become. I want more people to be aware of the fact that things like what the book depict exist.”
Josh hopes the book will continue to elicit positive reactions and that it will be used as a tool for the activists who work on this issue. “I want The Order of Nature to be at the forefront of challenging laws and perceptions and changing hearts and minds.”
Josh Scheinert grew up in Toronto and graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. After graduating, he spent a year teaching international and human rights law in Gambia. He wrote The Order of Nature in response to the homophobic and hostile treatment of LGBTQ people there, and it has already sold several hundred copies. Josh is currently a Senior Associate at Borden Ladner Gervais, practicing international investment and trade law.
The Order of Nature is available in local bookstores and online with Amazon.
Liked discovering this incredible person? Click HERE to meet more Jumans of Toronto.
Jumans of Toronto is a window into the lives and passion of Jewish young adults making their mark in the world. A 50-part series, Jumans is inspired by Humans of New York. If you’d like to recommend someone awesome to be highlighted, please send an email to email@example.com.
Written by: Adina Samuels