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Mazel Tov Joan Nestle, Suze Orman, and Hilary Rosen!

Okay, so October is host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Love Your Body Day, Fat Talk Free Week, AND GLBT History Month?  This is a seriously busy month!

GLBT History Month chooses 31 GLBT icons to highlight, one for each day of the month.  This year, three Jewesses are included in the list! 

The first is Joan Nestle, who helped launch the Gay Academic Union in 1972, and co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives, a rich collection of documents and memorabilia of lesbian history and culture, including photographs, recordings, buttons, and publications donated by American lesbians in 1973.  Nestle is featured in the Jewish Women's Archive Feminism exhibit.

Second is Suze Orman, a financial adviser, author, and host of the Suze Orman Show on CNBC.  In July 2009 Forbes named Orman 18th on their list of The Most Influential Women In Media. She was also one of Time Magazine's TIME 100 in 2008 and 2009.  

Last but not least is Hilary Rosen, the former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  She is currently Washington editor at large for the Huffington Post and an on-air CNN political contributor.

The stories of these women are inspiring because they demonstrate that it is possible to achieve success and/or fame as an "out" GLBT icon. Rachel Freedenberg said it best in the JTA blog "Chai Life": these are "inspiring stories of people who never let their sexual orientation get in the way of doing great things in the public eye."

Mazel Tov!

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joan, suze and hilary "never let their sexual orientation get in the way of doing great things in the public eye?" why would it--is lesbianism a disability to be overcome? or maybe you meant to say that they achieved success in their respective fields despite the homophobia that is still rampant today? that they were willing to risk their careers, their family relationships and even their personal safety by being open and honest about their sexual orientation? that they are a beacon of hope to those of us who live as second-class citizens in this country, where we are denied basic human rights on the basis of who we choose to love. yeah, that must be what you meant to say.

In the spirit of the Mazel Tov! offered, perhaps we can still celebrate. While Holly's point runs deep in the community, it does not have to keep us from the joy of seeing real accomplishment fulfill these icons, and for that accomplishment to encourage others to flourish and shine.

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How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Mazel Tov Joan Nestle, Suze Orman, and Hilary Rosen!." 21 October 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 19, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/jewish-glbt-icons>.


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