LGBTQIA Rights

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Collection
"Stone Butch Blues," by Leslie Feinberg

Queer History and Stone Butch Blues

by Jacob Klein

Two years ago to the month, I read Stone Butch Blues for the first time. Leslie Feinberg had made previous appearances in my life, distant traces of hir legacy filtering through references in other books and news of hir death months prior, but it wasn’t until May/June 2015 that I finally sank into Feinberg’s oeuvre and felt the force of hir most famous book.

Rising Voices Fellow Molly Pifko at her Bat Mitzvah

My (Eloquent, Intelligent, and Inspiring) Rabbi

by Molly Pifko

Rabbi Emily Mathis always seems to know the right thing to say. I remember being a little girl looking up at her on the Bimah during Friday night services, and wondering how she produced such beautiful and meaningful speech. I had the opportunity to speak with her recently, and I found myself wondering how she was able to answer so many of my questions before I had even asked them. 

Ben Shapiro

Facts Sometimes Have Feelings

by Abigail Fisher

“Torah Judaism does not support abortion, Torah Judaism does not support same-sex marriage,” right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro explained with a confident smirk to a cheering audience of Yeshiva University students. I expect it’s a lot easier to blindly subscribe to one binary view on what is seen as one of the most enigmatic documents in existence, rather than to actively engage with this foundational text, and question its claims. 

"The only hope is shoulder to shoulder" Women's March sign

All The Mornings After

by Lisa Batya Feld

The march had originally anticipated 25,000 participants, and by Friday, more than 105,000 had registered. Most people there, like me, had not, so the crowd was mind-bogglingly huge.

Hari Nef

Hari Nef, the first trans woman model to be signed to the prestigious IMG modeling agency, has used her public platform to speak out on issues that affect other transgender people.
Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

by  Judith Rosenbaum

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past, but also about the present—it’s unfolding every day.

Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner’s revolutionary fantasy novel Swordspoint offered an important early example of a strong, successful gay hero in a committed relationship.

Susan Harris

As hospital chaplain, Rabbi Susan Harris has worked to make Boston Children’s Hospital more sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ patients and families.

Jazz Jennings

Through her YouTube channel and reality TV show, Jazz Jennings is working to increase public understanding and acceptance of transgender teens like herself.

Heather Booth / Alicia Garza

Organizers

Organizing for Equality

Candle

The Way We Were: Life Before the Orlando Shooting

by  Lesléa Newman

I mourn the victims, along with their families and friends. I grieve for the traumatized survivors whose lives will never be the same. I especially ache for the young members of the queer community who despite the advances we have made, still feel unsafe being out at work, at home, at school, and who will never know what it’s like to step out of the closet for a few hours and dance the night away, unencumbered by fear.

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights
2015-2016 Rising Voices Fellow Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Why I Write

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Two driving forces in my life are creativity and passion. These qualities have always gone hand in hand. As I have grown through the years, my love for writing and my passion for activism have blended into one tremendous, creative, passionate, one-act play.

Alicia Garza

After her impassioned plea that black lives matter ignited the internet, Alicia Garza helped lead the movement that has transformed the modern struggle for civil rights.
Visualization of Gender Equality

Empowerment 101

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Throughout my life the word “feminist” has come to take on many meanings. It’s a word I’ve both heard and used infinite times growing up in the heart of one of New York City’s most politically liberal neighborhoods. Now, the very word “feminism” is one that brings gratification. However, by the time I reached the ever-menacing years of high school, I knew that the sense of affinity that came with the word “feminist” was not shared by the general whole of the New York high school students. 

Denise Eger

As one of the first openly gay rabbis, Denise Eger has spent her career working for greater LGBT inclusion in Jewish communities.

Joy Ladin and Lesléa Newman

Identity Poetics: An Afternoon with Joy Ladin and Lesléa Newman

by Bella Book and Tara Metal

On a sunny but cold Sunday in Boston, poets Joy Ladin and Lesléa Newman spoke at a JWA-sponsored event about their newly released collections of poetry, Ladin’s Impersonation and Newman’s I Carry My Mother

LGBT Rights Protest at Independence Hall, 1965

The Sound of Silence

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

A large part of my upbringing was my exposure to progressive education. My middle school was one that nourished not only a love for learning, but a well-rounded approach to diversity in any form it may take, including sexual orientation. However, I learned that even this inclusivity was an extraordinary privilege and not everyone, my own parents included, was raised in such a tolerant community. 

The Genderqueer Pride Flag

We’re Not In Oxford Anymore

by Caroline Kubzansky

I am one of the biggest grammar freaks that I know. I proudly count myself as a “soldier of the subjunctive,” and I find cartoons about comma placement to be hilarious-- so it may come as a surprise that I was excited when The American Dialect Society voted an ”incorrect” use of English to be the defining word of 2015. The word in question? The singular “they.” 

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.
Caroline Kubzansky Holding "Fearless" Sign

Dear Midge Decter

by Caroline Kubzansky

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. 

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