Our intersectional struggles as seen through a queer Seder

Ed. note: I’m off this week. The wonderful Tobias Rodriguez is filling in for me. Tobias originally hails from Texas and now lives in New York where he works in social media at a reproductive health organization.

queer seder

Image via Katie Hsih, a Seder guest

Every Passover Seder I’ve been to (read: two) has been queer of sorts.  At my Seder this year, my friends and I used an LGBTQ-specific haggadah. While none of the Seder attendees were particularly religious, our Seder was touching because the haggadah accounted for our intersectional lives, whether queer-identified or not. Passover ended yesterday but there were many parts of the haggadah that I hope to keep in my mind year round.

“The seder table is the ideal place to bring multiple identities together in that the struggles for those identities as individuals and as communities are so integral to one another. We do not remove one identity to dawn another: we are all of our identities at all times. Just as we read of our past and the Jewish struggle for redemption, we relate our modern GLBTQA struggle for recognition, freedom, and acceptance. The seder is not something separate from GLBTQA identities, but something strongly integrated – that speaks to us as whole, multifaceted people, in a celebratory and safe environment.”

“The struggle for all people who consider themselves GLBTQ is a multifaceted struggle, reflecting not the external power dynamic of oppressor and slave, but the internal dynamic. All GLBTQ people must face a struggle within themselves, in addition to the struggle between themselves and God, their families, their communities, and their worlds” 

“When Hillel combines bitter herbs, haroset, and matzah into what is referred to as the “Hillel Sandwhich,” he merges the bitterness of slavery the sweetness of self-realization, and the promise of redemption. He emphasizes the individual’s and the community’s abilities to forge identity from painful experience. By repeating the seder each year, we grow as indivduals [sic] and as a people, always from a new perspective and always in our search for true freedom.”

As a person with lots of intersecting identities, it’s almost always difficult for me to account for all my identities at the same time. Certain identities get priority and others less so and are perhaps forgotten. External and internal conflicts alike are part of the beauty of becoming whole and unique, which is a year round, life long journey.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    …can you explain the switch to GLBTQA? I see it more and more, instead of LGBTQI or LGBTQA. Usually I see it as a way to suggest lesbians aren’t welcome, but I presume that’s not an underlying theme of your post.

  2. Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow! So I had time after work to do my own research on this. I was raised with LGBT and my university used “spectrum” instead of going alphabet soup. I never realized GLBT was a big thing so I could see if the haggadah was a little older it might use it. I have seen some clubs in my area – clubs catering to gay men – use GLBT after using LGBT and I’ve seen a few GLBT signs with the ‘G’ in bold. But I didn’t know ’til now this acronym was switched around within the past 5-10 years. Sorry for the somewhat silly question.

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