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LGBTQIA Rights

Betty Berzon

Two years after psychologist Betty Berzon came out as a lesbian in 1971, she won the fight to have the American Psychiatric Association declassify homosexuality as a mental illness.

Judith Butler

Judith Butler transformed philosophy’s understanding of gender and queer studies with her theory that gender is not an inherent quality, it is a repeated performance based on social codes.

Toba Spitzer

Toba Spitzer became the first openly gay head of a rabbinic organization in 2007 when she became president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.

Deborah Brin

Deborah Brin, one of the first openly gay rabbis, led the first prayer service for Women of the Wall at the Conference for the Empowerment of Jewish Women in 1988.

Joy Ladin

Poet and scholar Joy Ladin is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox institution, Yeshiva University’s Stern College.

Dear Midge Decter

You know the saying: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Were we to meet, we wouldn’t be enemies exactly, but I doubt that we’d be friends either. While you and I are both female Jewish writers, the similarity stops there. 

Caroline Kubzansky Holding "Fearless" Sign

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Author Caroline Kubzansky holds up a sign that reads "Fearless."

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Author Caroline Kubzansky holds up a sign that reads "Fearless."

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Kate Bornstein

Through performance art pieces like Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger and The Opposite Sex is Neither, Kate Bornstein questions society’s understanding of gender as a binary.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Hailed as the “Scream Queen” for her 1978 film debut in Halloween and her work in other slasher films, Jamie Lee Curtis defied expectations through her roles in A Fish Called Wanda and The Heidi Chronicles.

Kate Bornstein, Seattle, 2010

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Kate Bornstein at Babeland in Seattle in 2010.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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Kate Bornstein at Babeland in Seattle in 2010.


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "LGBTQIA Rights." (Viewed on February 9, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/lgbtqia-rights>.

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