Four Questions About LGBTQ Liberation

Marginalization, homophobia and transphobia still plague our world.

Why is LGBTQ liberation a part of our Passover story, tonight?

Every year on Passover, we explore the meaning of mitzrayim, meaning “narrow place,” and are asked to consider in what ways we may find ourselves in mitzrayim in our own lives, and in the world today. Though LGBTQ rights have made significant progress in the U.S. and around the world in the last decade, LGBTQ people still experience oppression and marginalization, homophobia and transphobia still plague our world, and LGBTQ people are in many ways still living in mitzrayim. So tonight, as we consider how our liberation story is tied to ongoing struggles for justice and freedom, we ask four questions about LGBTQ liberation.

What does LGBTQ mean, and why do the letters seem to keep changing?

LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning, and the acronym is often used as a shorthand to describe diverse people who fall under an umbrella of marginalized sexualities and gender identities. Language in the LGBTQ community is dynamic and evolving. As people whose lives have, for centuries, been left out of the narratives of history and defined in other people’s terms, LGBTQ people know that words have power. LGBTQ communities developed coded language to find one another, and now have both the challenge and opportunity of describing ourselves and our lives in our own words. The terms—and the abbreviation—change as the community collectively strives to better describe all within it, in all their vibrant diversity, and as those who have gone unacknowledged demand a name come into being.

Question for the table: What words do you use to describe yourself? How have these words shaped your sense of self and your ability to be recognized for who you truly are?

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