We live in a beautiful, ever changing world where almost every day is sacred for someone, somewhere. This is no less true for many LGBTQ Jews and Muslims who will be celebrating National Coming Out Day and observing Yom Kippur and the Islamic holiday of Ashura all on the same day – Tuesday, Oct. 11 (Yom Kippur begins at sundown and continues through the next day).
This year Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and Ashura, commemorating the day Musa (Moses) was saved by God, coincidently fall on the same day as National Coming Out Day. For LGBTQ adherents of Judaism and Islam and their allies, this is a particularly important time that makes coming out even more meaningful.
While the deep reflections of these holidays nourish our spiritual lives and timeless connection to our past and God, the traditional Torah recitation of Leviticus 18:22 on Yom Kippur — “Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence” — can be painful for LGBTQ people to hear and read and is often why many feel as if they cannot come out. This makes it particularly crucial for allies to express their support for their LGBTQ friends and loved ones and remind them that they will be loved, no matter what.
“God knows you’re already the person you need to become, even if you don’t know that yet,” says Dr. Joy Ladin, a transgender Jewish woman, in HRC Foundation’s “Coming Home to Judaism and to Self”.
In HRC Foundation’s “Coming Home to Islam and to Self”, Hassan, a Muslim physician of Pakistani origin, reminds that if you are LGBTQ, “you are not less loved by God…”
The reality is that many LGBTQ adherents of Islam and Judaism may not come out on Tuesday for many variety of reasons — whether internal or external — and that’s OK.
But, with National Coming Out Day coinciding with such important holidays this year, we are reminded more than ever that when you make any room for others, no matter how big or small, you also make room for yourself too. Such awareness marks a good way to observe Yom Kippur and Ashura while coming out into a fuller truth, inside and outside.
Whether it’s for the first time ever or the first time today, coming out can be an arduous journey. It is also a brave decision to live openly and authentically. For more information and resources on coming out and National Coming Out Day, visit HRC’s Coming Out Center and follow the hashtag #ComingOut.