LGBTQ Jewish frontlines

I often picture Moses at the burning bush to be standing there, wringing his robes in his hands trying to diffuse the anxiety he felt inside. I imagine him stumbling over his words. He cheeks burning with all the words he's trying to say but doesn't know how to. I imagine the fear of the task ahead of him choking his words as he speaks. So often it is hard to be a leader or to speak of things others have not begun to conceive of. It is hard being on the frontlines of change.And yet, inspite of all of this, he goes forward. He takes his charge and while he was not perfect in his role, he went forward. He put action to words. He stood up and spoke. With the help of others, he was able to bring about change.

I am queer. My sexuality is fluid. I date people of many genders and sexes and identities. I find that adopting the label of queer allows me the freedom to love people and not have to adhere to strict boxes and boundaries. It is hard to be honest about this because it is scary. People reactions can rarely be predicted. In Jewish circles, though I have found many welcoming friends- there is still fear. I still fear sharing this part of me. It is amazing how affirming or dividing this part of me can be. When you come out, in any way as part of the LGBTQ community, you find that you have to do it multiple times. Every time you find a new partner, every time someone suggests someone you should go out with or every time people make assumptions about your future dreams. 

And when you are in a relationship, it can be complicated. Depending on the gender of your partner, there is consequences that can come from your relationship. In some states, if your employer is a religious institution or business, you can be fired for being LGBTQ. In some states, you can be asked to leave restaurants and shops. When introducing your partner to others, it can either be really affirming or awkwardly cordial. Some people stop inviting you to seders or parties. Questions about your relationship become matters of public discourse.

I just want to be free to be me. I want to be free to marry if I so choose or to adopt if that is our family decision. I want to be able to bring my partner to parties, shops or out to dinner. I did not intend to be on the frontlines or to be a trailblazer. I did not intend to have to make people decide one way or another on this "issue". I just want to be honest about who I am, and to be safe in my community.
However, because of my queer identity, I am part of the voices for change. I am someone who challenges others to do the hard work of figuring out what they believe and think. In the Jewish community, I can no longer afford to be quiet or afraid. And I don't want to. I want to be loved for who I am and not because I fit in people's comfortable box of expectations.

I look forward to the day that like Miriam and the women who danced after being freed from almost certain death. I look forward to the day that LGBTQ Jews are fully accepted in every sense into their Jewish communities. A day when people will not hesitate to invite partners to parties and will not pat an eye at their relationship. I dream of a day for LGBTQ Jews when they will be accepted in the secular world as well. Where they would be free to marry and adopt and create wonderful Jewish families. I look forward to the day when LGBTQ Jews like me will not have to hesitate when sharing the joys of their relationship.