Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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Shulamit Izen
GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender] Jewish Youth Activist

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What Else She Said

I think the most personal experience was when I was with school and going to Washington for the JCI (Jewish Civic Initiatives) program... We had to introduce ourselves, so we had to draw pictures. So of course I drew a woman's symbol and a rainbow, and no one understood what that meant... So I had to stand up in front of the group and say, 'Yes, I'm a feminist and I'm into gay activism.' Then we went back to our rooms.

There were four people in a room. I could have shared a room with people from New Jew, but I thought, 'No, I want to meet new people, it will be cool.'

So I was in a room with three Floridians. I walked in and they stared at me and said, 'What does it mean that you're a gay activist? I knew what they meant was 'Are you gay?' So I told them what it meant to be a gay activist and then I ended, 'And I'm a lesbian.'...

And then that night, I was trying to go to bed... And they were talking about me, 'Do you think she's going to try to have sex with us while we're sleeping? What are we going to do with this f-cking fag in our room?' They call up their friends down the hall and they start talking about me. And I had this tear go onto my pillow. These are people in the Jewish community, they go to a Jewish day school, we're here to talk about activism, but this isn't my community and something's really wrong.

So the next day I told people about it and that was risky. I thought, 'Am I being a gossip? Maybe it was ok that they said stuff?' I was really doubting myself. They were talked to. But actually, the girl that I was sharing the bed with... She started talking to me and we went out to lunch at the Smithsonian and I told her my story. And afterwards she said, 'Hmmm. I don't think I'm homophobic anymore.' And I was like, 'oh, good!' It was a really good feeling that she could change.

And I guess the risk was that I stayed in that room for the next night. I didn't want to be there, there were a lot of other cool people that I could have shared a room with, but I know that I have to teach people something.


How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Shulamit Izen on IMPACT ON WORLD." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Shulamit Izen on IMPACT ON WORLD," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.