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LGBTQIA Rights

Denise Eger

In 2015, Denise Eger became the first openly gay president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the professional organization for Reform rabbis.

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. 

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.

Being a Woman

For me—and, I imagine, a lot of other trans women out there—the recent flurry of media attention around the appearance of Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair has given rise to a whole complicated array of feelings, not the least of which may be longing for a time when everybody will finally stop talking about Caitlyn Jenner.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "LGBTQIA Rights." (Viewed on August 24, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/lgbtqia-rights>.

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