November 25, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

On Purim and Coming Out

On March 12, Jews will celebrate a holiday called Purim by reading the story told in the Scroll of Esther.

In the story, Esther, a young Jewish woman living in ancient Persia, is chosen by King Ahasuerus to become his new queen. She chooses not to reveal her Jewish identity to the king, at the advice of her cousin Mordechai.

Later in the story, Haman, one of the king’s advisers, convinces the king to sign a decree with instructions “to destroy, massacre, and exterminate all the Jews, young and old, children and women, on a single day.” It was to become a law in all of the king’s provinces.

Mordechai now tells Esther she must hide her Jewish identity no longer; instead, she must use her proximity to King Ahasuerus to try to reverse the decree and save her people. Esther is afraid, but Mordechai encourages her with this famous line: “Who knows, perhaps you have attained to royal position for just such a crisis” (Esther, 4:14). Ultimately, Esther is successful: she wins the king’s favor, and the Jews are saved.

The story of Esther has long held special resonance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, because it is a story about “coming out” – about initially hiding part of one’s identity, and then choosing to reveal it. Sometimes, Esther is read initially as a passive character who becomes powerful only once she decides to reveal her identity to the king. However, as someone who has known the experience of choosing not to come out as queer, at times, in order to keep myself safe, I respect both of Esther’s decisions – the strategic choice to protect herself by keeping her Jewish identity a secret as well as the strategic choice to reveal her identity in order to leverage her position as queen and save her people.

Following last week’s announcement from the White House that the human and civil rights of transgender people will not be protected by the federal government, questions of transgender people’s safety are in the spotlight. While Esther reminds us that trans people, and all LGBTQ people, need to make their own decisions about if and how to come out, I pray that our communities re-commit to becoming places where it is safe for all to be fully who they are – queer or trans, gay or straight, Jewish, Muslim, or Christian.

Rav Leora Abelson is religious leader at Congregation Agudas Achim on North Main Stree in Attleboro. 

 

 

Related Posts

Oreo To Announce Rainbow Oreos- E.P.I.C Pride Show, November 18, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Oreo To Announce Rainbow Oreos...

Campus Pride Celebrates #GivingTuesday Campaign

November 15, 2020

November 15, 2020

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world....

Amy Coney Barrett Threat To LGBTQ People – E.P.I.C Pride Show, November, 11, 2020

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Amy Coney Barrett Threat To...

The Right Size Condom For You

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

Condoms and sex seem to be a taboo subject for discussion. Health class 101 points out the male and female...

City Of WeHo Celebrates Veterans Day 2020

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will honor veterans and active members of the United States Armed Forces during a virtual...

National Coming Out Day

October 11, 2020

October 11, 2020

Thirty-two years ago, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, National Coming Out...

OUTFEST Announces “Taiwan Program”

September 6, 2020

September 6, 2020

The 2020 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan (R.O.C) and Taiwan Academy...

LA Pride Names First Black Trans Woman As President Of Board

September 6, 2020

September 6, 2020

Christopher Street West, the nonprofit organization that produces LA Pride, has named a Black transgender woman as president of its...

DTLA Proud To Premiere New Documentary

August 30, 2020

August 30, 2020

DTLA PROUD announced that it will premier a new documentary about the community it serves later this Fall. The organization,...

Why is Covid-19 being compared to HIV? – E.P.I.C Pride show 7/15/20

July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture.* Covid-19 and HIV how society is giving them...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Burger King Employee Dies from COVID-19

July 15, 2020

July 15, 2020

A transgender woman employee of a Santa Monica Burger King died from COVID-19 but the fast food chain is allegedly...

LA Pride Leaving West Hollywood

July 14, 2020

July 14, 2020

Christopher Street West announces LA Pride will not be in West Hollywood By Sam Catanzaro Christopher Street West (CSW), the...

Local Leaders Celebrate Supreme Court LGBT Discrimination Ban

June 16, 2020

June 16, 2020

Supreme Court votes 6-3 in case Bostock v. Clayon County, Georgia By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles-area leaders are celebrating the...

City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City One Pride’ LGBTQ Arts Festival

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Features a ‘virtual platform’ for arts and cultural events: May 22 through June 30 By Staff Writer Each year, the...

North Hollywood Gay Latino Bar ‘Cobra’ Closed for Business

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Instead adopts virtual entertainment method By Toi Creel The effect of COVID -19 has not only taken a toll on...