|Eshel Parents Retreat in March, 2013|
When a child comes out in an Orthodox
community, parents share the burden of hiding. At an annual retreat,
participants find comfort in knowing they’re not alone.
Coming out to your parents as gay, lesbian,
bisexual or transgender can be a daunting proposition, more so when you belong
to a religious community that doesn’t recognize or accept LGBT members.
But it can also be a relief: After years of
isolation, you are no longer hiding. For many Orthodox parents, however, having
a child come out is the beginning of their isolation.
“We didn’t realize the irony of that,” says
Miryam Kabakov, the co-founder and executive director of Eshel, an organization
that supports members of the Orthodox LGBT community. “When you come out, you
let the secret go and the parent takes on the secret…. And what they do is go
into the closet with it.”