National Coming Out Day reminds all LGBTQ folks, that they have the power to define all aspects of their identities. We are proud to see that our AWB mission alumni further National Coming Out Day’s goal of creating a wider, more visible, louder, and empowered LGBTQ community. Read the coming out reflections of 2017 AWB Pride Mission to Israel alum, H. Alan Scott:
“I can’t imagine having to be defined by just one identity. As far as coming out, I used to say that I never really had to come out. At least not just once. As a child, I was obsessed with the Golden Girls and thankfully I had amazing family support. My mom would often say to me, “When you grow up and have kids… or adopt.” Still, growing up queer was always a complex dance around questions like, “How gay will I allow myself to appear?” I clearly couldn’t be butch, but I could pass…OK, let’s be real, I could get by. But even with the privilege of years of strong support as a young adult, I always felt that I couldn’t be my authentic self without a wider queer community. I loved humor and found that focusing on my art and developing a performer personality with other LGBTQ artists helped me to be comfortable being out in public and in my career.
All that said, my real coming out story was when I came out as a Jew. I was raised Mormon and converted to Judaism at 30. It turns out that queer identity is often full of complexities and intersectionality. In many ways it was harder for me to tell people I was converting than it ever was to say I’m queer. But once I took the leap and did it, it opened up everything for me. I connected with parts of myself I previously didn’t allow to shine. I stopped doing what was expected of me, particularly professionally, and instead started focusing on what made me happy: writing, comedy, drag, and my faith, of course.
What solidified so much of that were my trips to Israel, both with A Wider Bridge, on my own and when I filmed the documentary Latter Day Jew (LatterDayJew.com). Like me, Israel can be a case of contradictions. The history, the legacies, the politics, the different types of people with different beliefs, the mixture shouldn’t work but it does. That’s me! My story shouldn’t be a Jewish story, but it is, and I’m so proud that it is.
Everything that I was has made me everything that I am. I’m queer. I’m Jewish. I’m now a friend of Israel. I’m proud”.