“Raise up your voice as we sound the shofar. Come out for justice. Come out for safety. Come out for an end to transphobic violence. Come out for a world in which all of us live lives of dignity, safety, and opportunity.”
We mark time, Jewishly, through the cycle of the Jewish calendar and holidays. Each month and holiday poses questions for spiritual reflection and growth, and reminds us that we are part of something larger than ourselves. The High Holiday season extends through the months of Elul and Tishrei, beginning with Rosh Chodesh Elul and ending with Simchat Torah, near the end of Tishrei.
The month of Elul is a time of spiritual preparation for the High Holidays, when we are to be shaken and awoken to act righteously, to act for justice, to turn toward our best selves. Our spiritual course winds through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah, guiding us along a path of reflection, inspiration, reckoning, mourning, commitment, growth, and action.
As in the Jewish world, in the LGBTQ community we mark time by a calendar of LGBTQ holidays. In the fall, our own period of reflection, inspiration, mourning, reckoning, and call to action is bookended by National Coming Out Day, on Erev Yom Kippur – tomorrow, October 11th – and Transgender Day of Remembrance, on November 20th.
On National Coming Out Day, we are called and inspired to rise up and use our voices. We respond to Harvey Milk’s call: “Gay brothers and sisters, you must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives, your friends, if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors, to your fellow workers, to the people who work where you eat and shop. Break down the myths. Destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake.”
We come out with loud proclamations and with quiet whispers. We do it together, because we know that one by one, by living our lives with authenticity and wholeness, we break down the misconceptions and fears, we heal the fractures in our communities and in our world.