Keshet is a national organization that works for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. The organization equips Jewish leaders with tools to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, creates spaces for queer Jewish teens to feel valued and develop their own leadership skills, and mobilizes the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ justice. Keshet’s blog spotlights this work, as well as the voices of LGBTQ Jews, our families, and allies.
Dear Past Hannah,
There are a few things I feel like you ought to know.
Number one – relax! You studied super hard, you got good grades, you got into a great college, and you found a group of amazing friends. All your hard work paid off.
Number two — yes, you’re still into Harry Potter. You still love it as much as you did in middle school and high school (no surprises there). You will also get to visit Harry Potter world in Florida and the studio where they filmed it in London. It will be the best day of your life.
And number three — you’re an out and proud lesbian. Your whole family knows. All your friends know. Your roommate knows. And they are all okay with it.
They all still love you.
I know you must feel like this is impossible. I know the thought of telling your parents made you feel sick. I know you felt ashamed and alone as you grappled with who you were for the longest time.
But you made it through.
You are very strong. You are very brave. You will get through all the hard times and you will be immensely proud of who you are.
There’s still no magic fix. There are still times when you think to yourself that a girl is pretty and feel ashamed and wrong. There are still times when someone in your family will say accidentally say something hurtful, and you all you want to do is curl up and cry.
But there are also many, many more good moments than bad. When you come out to your family and they tell you they are proud of you and of course they still love you. When you go to Pride for the first time, with a rainbow flag worn on your back like a cape, and you feel invincible. When you casually mention getting married to a woman to your family, and they don’t bat an eye. When you cut your hair short like you’ve been wanting to do for a long time and your sister jokes that you have the lesbian haircut. When you get to say “But I can’t go straight! I’m gay!” whenever a friend gives you directions. (You will never get tired of that.)
Good luck with everything, Past Hannah. I believe in you. I know you’re going to get through every hard thing life throws at you, and come out stronger for it. You’re stronger than you know.
P.S. –For your 21st birthday, your brother got you a Hayley Kiyoko shirt. That was pretty cool too.