Why We March

Halley Cohen is the Director of GLOE – GLBT Outreach & Engagement at the Washington DCJCC.

Click here to read Stephen Richer’s accompanying post.

We march because we are proud to be Jewish and also proud to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer.

We march because we are Jewish and proud to be allies of our LGBTQ friends, family and community members.

We march to be part of our vibrant neighborhood in a diverse city.

We march for all those who could not (and still can’t) march – murdered or pushed to suicide or forced into closets.

We march to celebrate our wonderful victories towards equality and love and how far we’ve come.

We march because of our belief in social justice and tikkun olam, in healing the world.

On Saturday, GLOE – GLBT Outreach & Engagement at the Washington DCJCC – will be marching in its 4th Capital Pride Parade here in DC, though Pride celebrations in DC started long before, beginning in 1975. Joining GLOE will be a large contingent of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Jews and our friends. Our group is made up of people of all ages, orientations, denominations, races, levels of observance, and reasons for marching. What we have in common is the belief that recognizing LGBTQ Jews as part of the community (both Jewish and LGBTQ) is vital.

Earlier this year, we took part in the “It Gets Better” and “Strength Through Community – A Jewish Response to Hate, Bullying and Suicide” projects, creating a video to reach out to Jewish LGBTQ youth. The video is based around the light of Chanukah, and the struggle for all of us to live our authentic lives, without prejudice. We wanted to show that there is a welcoming space for these youths (and adults) in our community. We were honored to hear back that the video had reached those who need it most and had, indeed, saved these individuals’ lives. We march for the same reason.

A few days ago, Stuart Kurlander, GLOE’s founder and chair, was installed as President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington – an historic moment as he becomes the first openly gay President of any Jewish Federation in North America. He was chosen for his many wonderful leadership qualities, but we are also quite proud of this landmark, as well. It says to the Greater Washington area that the Jewish community is proud of our LGBTQ leaders, that we value everyone’s abilities and want you to share them with us. We march for the same reason.

Pride events are often about fun and celebrating – and you will see all of that when you join us at the Parade on Saturday or come visit our booth at the Festival on Sunday – but it’s also about saying that Jewish life doesn’t look one way or like one type of person. It’s more than simple tolerance; it’s visibility, as full, essential members of the Jewish community.

And that is why we march.