Last night the synagogue had a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transexual night. Many people I knew and some I didn't engaged in a panel discussion about their experiences. Though of course I knew in the abstract the difficulties people had faced with their variant sexualities because of the intolerance and worse that they faced, it was enlightening to say the least to be exposed first hand to the feelings a transexual who had been brought up in the synagogue as a girl and was now transitioning into a guy was having, and to hear about another such case of a person who is now a guy and has become a rabbi, though no congregation as yet will hire him. He's doing okay though, about to be married to a millionaire heiress. He will also be the parent of an adopted child. A teacher at the religious school bravely stepped up to discuss her sexuality (I hope no parents pull their kids out of the school for this reason, though in our congregation, I'd be pretty surprised if they did). Several people discussed what it was like to come out to their parents. The person from the religious school had also converted from Catholicism, and it was this, mostly, she said, that made her parents disown her, not the fact she was a lesbian.
I am really proud that we were able to discuss this openly, and I see it as a recognition of all people who are different, for whatever reason, and a pledge to support and accept them on the part of our community.