There are specific days in the year that are adopted by the LGBTQIA+ community for Queer (minority) celebrations. Let’s investigate.
Most famously, there is Gay Pride Day, which is rooted in the Stonewall Inn Uprising when Trans and Gay patrons of the Stone Wall Inn decided to not be intimidated any longer by police brutality and literally fought back.
Yet, the date is not kept precisely, celebrations are spread out all over the month of June which is dubbed Pride month. Many new to the issue ask what there is to be proud about when one’s fate invites others to hate and oppress you, and should there be Straight Pride Marches too?
The best answers I know are that the Pride comes to confront shame. Not so many Straights are conditioned to feel ashamed about their sexual orientation. Generally, heterosexuality is encouraged all-year-round.
Surprisingly, Pride Marches are rather celebratory and, at least from the side of the revelers, there is little violence in the commemoration of the original revolt. Many participants, Gays and Allies, report relief of finally feeling that these minority groups matter and are significant. And that the whole identity is something to cherish and relish, not to dread or mourn.
Many Queers have adopted the repeat Passover Night from the Torah as yet another day to say: we were overlooked but we actually want a part of the pie too. It was instituted for those who missed this crucial celebration the first time around through no fault of their own. It says: But we are not minimalistic in saying: we couldn’t so, it’s OK. It is OK but we rather have a second chance. LGBT-groups have converted this to a focus on inclusion for marginalized members in the Jewish community. More than just festive, here an accent is put on learning and teaching, and community.
The Day of Love
Coming up, the world over, Valentine’s Day (and in Israel and other Jewish communities, Tu be’Av) is celebrated specially by Queer communities because of the stress on the aspect of love, relationship, and family.
Gays often recognize themselves in the relationship between David and Jonathan, though little is written about sex between them (besides a few puns and hints). But what makes them identify with these two Biblical characters is the obvious love between them. This shows that the essence of a Queer relationship is not sex but rather deep unselfish love.
Israel also has Family Day (today!), a replacement of Mother’s Day.
Purim with its dressing up and sporadic cross-dressing also has some special appeal to Queer Jews who’re by definition revolted by normalcy.
Purim and the month of Adar in which it falls are known for their happiness. The Talmud records: “Who enters Adar expands happiness.” That can mean: be happier, spread more happiness, and (maybe): from the beginning of Adar, we can spread out happiness over the whole year.
Happy and Gay are closely related. Gay was adopted to offset shame and depression put on Queers. However, many Cis-gender Straights live very unhappy lives. Also that has nothing to do with their gender or sexual identities. Rather, it’s hard to have to pass as ‘normal’ and be happy.
(We see that in every oppression. On average, wealthier people are not happier than poorer people (who can’t afford to be down). There are no really happy hard-core racists or antisemites or sexists. Being pushed into an oppressive role by society leaves the executioners privileged but deeply unhappy unless they develop being excellent Allies to the oppressed.)
Purim is, besides a very deep Holiday, a fun, happy, and Gay day.
Jewish Gays also tend to see the Jewish Sabbath as their day because it celebrates what is (in contrast to what c/should be), and it recognizes the centrality of the home, family relationships, and friendships, and having guests, and the legitimacy and importance of a good love life.
Almost every day, we should be ambitious to help create a better world for all. Yet, we should not be emotionally far-sighted continuously. One day a week, we’ll acknowledge and rejoice in the goodness received already. It’s indispensable against burnout. Activists, never leave home without it.
Many said already that also Gentiles may need something like the Shabbat: a weekly moment to prioritize and soak up our home and relationships.