Telling Our Story
Maggid is the part of the seder where we retell the Exodus story. We speak of Joseph coming to Egypt. How there was a great famine in the land, and a prosperous Egypt took in the Israelites. How a new Pharoah arose who did not know Joseph, and he grew afraid of the Israelites, for they were numerous and strong. And he ordered the death of the baby boys, to prevent the Israelites from growing too powerful.
We tell about Moses, and how he was sent to float in the Nile in a basket. How he was found by the Pharoah's daughter, and raised as an Egyptian. How he ran away. How God spoke to him. And how he returned to free the Israelites - his people.
Maggid is where we tell the story of our liberation. And our liberation as Jews is tied into our liberation as queer and trans people.
Now is the part of the seder when we must speak about the collected library of literature on transgender studies, burned in the flames of the Holocaust. When our trans ancestors were accepted and loved, before a fascist state decided that they were not permitted to exist, let alone live. Now is the part of the seder when we must speak about the Black trans women who threw stones in the Stonewall Riots. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera - we must speak their names. Now is the part of the seder when we must speak about the AIDS epidemic - how the government stood by and watched as 500,000 gay men died. We do not know all of their names. Now we must speak of Matthew Shepherd, whose death changed the national dialog about gay youth, but who should not have needed to die to spark that conversation.
We have achieved remarkable milestones in our fight for civil rights and human rights, but our fight is not yet over. Queer people of color, trans people, and queer youth still lose their lives at terrifying high rates. Bisexual and asexual people have their identities denied. Military service and civil jobs are being wrested away from trans folks who just want to serve their communities.
Maggid is where we must speak about our story.
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