Show your Pride and make everyone feel safe and loved

Pride season is upon us, and for many of us, it has been a difficult one. The lack of inclusion of Jewish folks in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community has left us feeling disappointed and frustrated. The pain of being left out has left many of us wondering why. How can we have pride if we cannot have pride in every aspect of who we are? Why are we facing hate and discrimination from a community that knows those feelings all too well?

Many people in our gender diverse and sexually diverse community face adversity and must confront the challenge of being ourselves publicly. The masses often question our lifestyles, values, and choices. Defending ourselves in our everyday life is intertwined with our experiences. Being queer is not something we choose, but being authentic to ourselves is. We choose to be public despite the risks of harassment, bullying, marginalization and abuse.

We could say the same about embracing our authentic Jewish identities right now.

So why do we continue to be loud and proud? Jewish and queer?

Simply put, PRIDE.

As a proudly queer Jewish Latina, I refuse to closet any of who I am. The risks I face to my self-identity by being closeted are worth the price of being myself. As an individual and as a community, we must continue to take those risks. To face our biases, to accept ourselves and our fellow humans. To love and support each other. To advocate for what’s right and ask those hard questions. And most importantly, to listen to each other. To hold space for others and to uplift our fellow members when they cannot do it alone.

Hurt fuels hurt, and we must remember to treat others with the kindness and compassion that we are so desperately seeking right now from others. Isn’t that the basic principle of our faith? To treat others as we want to be treated, and to tend to the poor, the needy, and the hurt?

I encourage you all to consider this during this month. To take the time to hear other voices, other perspectives, other opinions. Seek the wisdom of those who are living the experiences you do not have. Let’s all remind ourselves that we can create a world where we make everyone feel safe and loved, regardless of sexuality, gender, ethnicity, or religion.

I encourage you to join us on Thursday, June 20, to listen to the voice of incredible advocate for 2SLGTBQIA+ rights in the Middle East. Come hear Jonathan Elkhoury speak about his lived experience as a Lebanese Christian who sought refuge in Israel. Listen to him speak about his life, his work and his journey as an intersectional human in a complex region. Ask questions. Gain knowledge and insight and show our pride together. You can get your free ticket now.

Lastly, remember, love is love. Let’s continue to celebrate that not only this month, but every day.

Shabbat Shalom,