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Archive for : Pride Month

It’s Pride Month! How Are YOU Celebrating?

June is here, which means Pride Month – 30 days dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the advancement of LGBTQ rights in America and across the globe – is here too!

There are so many exciting, educational, and just plain fun events across the country celebrating Pride Month. In honor of the month, we thought we’d highlight a couple of events that merge the LGBTQ and Jewish communities. Check out this small sampling below, and find even more events over at Keshet.

Hebro is a social-startup for gay Jews living in the city. Their events are always cutting edge and fun – the upcoming Hebro Pride happy hour on June 22 will be no exception. Meanwhile, on June 11, the folks over at CBST are hosting a kid and family-friendly singalong in honor of Pride Month.

Washington DC
On June 10, as part of the national Pride Shabbat movement, the historic Sixth & I Synagogue and Bet Mishpacha are joining forces for an inclusive Shabbat evening service.

Is text study your thing? On June 8, join Keshet for a special Pride text study that will examine Jewish texts that relate to the LGBTQ community.

San Francisco
On June 16, Keshet is hosting a Jewish Pride happy hour and schmooze fest as Pride Week festivities kick off across the city.

What could be better than Shabbat on the beach? On June 24, Congregation Or Chadash will host a special Pride Shabbat BBQ and beach service.

Intrigued by that rainbow challah? You can make it at home! Here’s the recipe and a helpful video from The Nosher.

Pride Interview: Ross Murray and GLAAD

During Pride Month, Repair the World is featuring interviews with the people and organizations who are on the forefront of the LGBTQ movement. This week: Ross Murray talks about his role as Director of News and Faith Initiatives at GLAAD – one of the leading organizations in this country working for LGBTQ awareness and rights through media and culture.

How did you get involved with GLAAD? What drew you to the organization?
My background is working in religion, particularly in the Mainline Protestant world. GLAAD is actually the first secular organization I’ve ever worked with. Before GLAAD, I worked for a Lutheran LGBT group, which at the time was called Lutherans Concerned, and is now called Reconciling Works. I was there when the Evangelical Lutheran church changed their policy about allowing clergy to recognize and support “publicly accountable lifelong monogamous same-gender relationships.” They are the largest Lutheran denomination in the country, so it was a big deal. While at my former job, I worked with my predecessor here at GLAAD. So when she resigned to do private consulting, I thought it could be a good fit.

How did the Faith Initiatives program get started at GLAAD?
It started 6 years ago, before my time. After the 2004 election, many exit polls noted how people mentioned moral values as one of the reasons they voted for the president. A lot of LGBT advocacy organizations began to realize at that point that they hadn’t been engaging fully with religious communities, and began to establish programs to do so. It’s been a really fruitful shift. At GLAAD we have a huge network of pro-LGBT religious leaders, and the program focuses on figuring out how we best work with them to influence how the story of religion and the LGBT community is being told in the public sphere. For example, if the issue is marriage equality, how can we share voices of rabbis and ministers who would say, “I’d like to help loving, committed, same gender couples get married, but I can’t right now.”

What are the major program areas within the Faith Initiatives wing?
Last year GLAAD did a study called Missing Voices, commissioned through the University of Missouri. It examined which religious representatives the mainstream media outlets tend to go to when talking about LGBT issues. It turns out, three quarters of speakers in mainstream media represent a tradition or denomination that has a formal policy or culture opposed to LGBT equality. Mainline Protestant and Jewish voices are underrepresented – and when there is a Jewish voice included, it’s often someone from an ultra Orthodox community. The news likes excitement and drama, which means religious voices that are more tolerant get shut out of the conversation.

We have a bevy of speakers including faith leaders, and I work to actively pitch the mainstream media and let them know who they should be talking to. On the flip side, we help train people who are not explicitly working within the religious world – like lawyers and non-profit workers – to have religious talking points.

We also help get out the stories of people who are doing exciting pro LGBT work in the religious world. For example, there’s a man named Jayson Littman who started a successful Jewish LGBT party production company called He’Bro. We did a profile on him where he talked about his experience with reparative therapy programs, and he’s received other media attention. He does not necessarily think of himself as a religious leader because he’s more on the social and cultural side of things. But he is someone with a voice who is working explicitly within the Jewish world. People pay attention to that.

Any goals moving forward?
It’s really about continuing with what we’re doing and helping shift the view of the “moveable middle.” We want to make sure the media continues on a pro LGBT trajectory, and also work with pro LGBT religious leaders who are working within denominations that tend to be stereotypically anti-gay. It’s really great to be a part of this work, and to help be a sounding board for religious leaders. I went to seminary so I know about Lutheran theology. Now I’m learning about how the politics of religion work.

Find out more about GLAAD’s work at their website.

Pride Interview: Justin Spiro and JQY

During Pride Month, Repair the World is featuring interviews with the people and organizations who are on the forefront of the LGBTQ movement. This week: New Yorker, Justin Spiro, talks about his role as facilitator for a teen support group with JQY – a nonprofit organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews and their families in the Orthodox community.

Tell me a bit about your own background in the Jewish and queer worlds.
I grew up in the Conservative movement, and became more observant in college. I had come out as gay in high school, and started the gay-straight alliance at my school. So I had that part of my identity, and then my Jewish identity became more central later. After college, I moved to NYC which is one of the few places that has a critical mass of queer Orthodox people. I got involved with JQY as a member and occasional volunteer. Many of the friends I have today I originally met through JQY.

And what do you do with JQY now?
I am a facilitator for a monthly teen group in the Five Towns, Long Island. It’s a safe space for LGBTQ people who are currently or formerly religious to discuss about the issues they have, and realize that they are not the only ones facing those issues. In my professional life I have a masters degree in social work and work as a therapist with teenagers in the Bronx. My experience with that age group plus my own personal experiences in the queer and Orthodox communities made me a good fit for this particular program. The group is still pretty new, and its founding was one of luck and circumstance. We got a grant from Federation to put something like this together, and Five Towns, which has a large Orthodox community, seemed like a great place to jump in. We’re hoping it eventually spreads to other communities.

What unique challenges do queer Orthodox teens face?
One issue has to do with their internal moral compasses. Since they were young, they were taught that whatever the Torah says you have to do. More liberal movements can be more interpretive and open about Jewish law, but in Orthodoxy there is a deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong, as well as punishment and reward from God.

But as upsetting as that might sound, that feeling often pales in comparison with the social and community pressures the teens face. By far kids say they are more stressed out about how their parents or peers are treating them rather than about halachic (Jewish law) issues. It may be a matter of kids making jokes in the hallway, or rabbis and teachers who try to be helpful but say unhelpful or hurtful things. That’s what really stresses them out.

Do you think the Orthodox world is becoming more accepting of LGBTQ people?
I see a lot of movement in that direction. On the one hand, if your goal is to have an Orthodox rabbi perform a same sex ceremony, that is unlikely to happen. But in the Orthodox world, and particularly the modern Orthodox world, people are talking about the issues, which is ground breaking. It doesn’t change halacha, but it does acknowledge that these issues exist and that life can be a real struggle. Allowing people to share their full selves with the community is a step in the right direction.

Interestingly, the Five Towns group is endorsed and sponsored by two Orthodox rabbis in the community – without that, we never would have gotten it off the ground. So these changes are not across the board – they’re not happening in every synagogue – but it’s starting.

The most important thing is exposure. In any community, knowing someone in your family or friendship circle who is gay makes a huge difference. Then it becomes not a foreign concept, but something that impacts people just like us. Enabling people to come out safely in their communities is the single most powerful way to foster acceptance.

How has being a part of JQY impacted you personally?
It makes me feel good to see kids make progress in their lives and feel better about themselves. Personally, I am at a good place in my life – I have stable identities as a Jew and a gay individual. But many people are still unstable in one or both identities, so I feel like this work lets me give back. It’s my duty and I’m happy to do it.

Find out more about JQY’s work at their website.

Pride Month Events 2013

Not sure how or where to celebrate Pride Month this year? Repair the World has got you covered!

The festivities begin during the last days of May and continue throughout the end of June, and there are events going on all around the country. Check out our roundup of fun, fabulous (and in many cases free!) events, talks, film screenings, parties, marches and shabbat dinners celebrating LGBTQ rights during Pride Month.

May 31: Join Keshet for “Erev” Pride Week Shabbat services and dinner in Sommerville, MA.
June 1: Congregation Am Tikva in Brooklyn, MA is hosting a Pride Liberation Seder – aka a retelling of the story of the LGBT liberation following the Passover seder model.

June 22 and 23: Chicago’s annual Pride Fest helps kick off summer in the second city!
June 24: Congregation Or Chadash is hosting a beach-side BBQ and Shabbat service to launch the city’s Pride Week.

June 14: Shabbat services and a picnic lunch are at the heart of this Keshet-inspired Pride Month event.

Los Angeles
May-June: There are a ton of events going on in West Hollywood before and during Pride Month, from a discussion of LGBTQ rights around the globe on June 18, to the official LA Pride Parade on June 9. For more events in and around Los Angeles, click here.

June 5: Temple Israel of Greater Miami is hosting a ru’ach pride seder, celebrating the freedoms and remembering the challenges of the LGBT community.

New York
June 22: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is hosting a multigenerational pride picnic in the park.
June 28: Join other New Yorkers for the Pride Week Kickoff Rally at Pier 26.

San Fran
June 9 Keshet is hosting a LGBTQ mixer and Pride Month picnic in Delores Park.
June 28: Join the Jewish Community Federation for a gay pride Shabbat celebration.
June 29-30 San Franciscans know how to party during their annual Pride festival.

June 28: JConnect in Seattle will host their annual Pride Shabbat with services, music, food and mingling.

Washington DC
May 29: Join in on the fun at the Big Queer Jewish Pride Kick Off Happy Hour event hosted at Mova Lounge.
June: The Washington DC JCC’s LGBT group GLOE is hosting several fun events, all worth checking out.
June 8: Join in the annual Capitol Pride Parade, and March with GLOE.

Did we miss a great Pride Month event? We want to hear about it! Share it below or tweet us at @repairtheworld #pridemonth.

Pride Month 2013

June is LGBTQ Pride Month – 30 days dedicated to honoring the impact people who are lesbian, gay, bi, and transgendered have had on the world. (June was chosen in commemoration of the famous Stonewall Riots.) The month is also host to Pride Day, when cities around the globe celebrate with fun festivals and marches meant to spread awareness about LGBTQ issues.

Here at Repair the World we are celebrating Pride all June long, offering stories focused on LGBTQ causes, featuring organizations doing great work to promote rights for all, and publishing interviews with leaders and change makers in the community.

The tide towards rights for the LGBTQ community is turning, and great achievements have been made since the first Pride March was held in New York City in 1969. But in America and around the globe, there is much work to be done to ensure safety, rights, and an end of discrimination for everyone, regardless of who they love or how they identify.

Check back on Repair the World’s blog often during the month of June for opportunities to get involved and make a difference! Here are the great ways we’re already celebrating Pride Month:

Pride Month Events (find one in your area this month!)
Breaking Norms by Breaking Glass (Jewish, LGBTQ, Celeb Weddings!)
Pride and Prayer (LGBTQ-Friendly Synagogues)
LGBTQ Movements Around the World – what’s going on globally
Top 10 LGBTQ Movies
Pride Interview: Shanna Katz and Keshet
Pride Interview: Justin Spiro and JQY
Pride Interview: Ross Murray and GLAAD
Pride Interview: Shane Windmeyer and Campus Pride

How are you celebrating Pride Month? Tweet us at @repairtheworld #pridemonth.

Your Guide to Pride

June is LGBT Pride Month, – a month that remembers the Stonewall Riots of 1969, while honoring the impact that LGBT community has had – and are having – around the world!

Repair the World wishes to honor this special month by offering some exciting ways you can get involved to advocate for a life of equality. We’re also highlighting some amazing LGBTQ heroes who are working to end hate across the world.

Inspiring People from the LGBTQ Community

Fagyele Ben MiriamFaygele Ben Miriam, Same-Sex Marriage’s Jewish Pioneer
Tablet Magazine profiles the incredible activist career of Faygele ben Miriam – a man who started Washington state’s battle over marriage more than 40 years ago. Written by Pulitzer Prizer winner Eli Sanders. This is a MUST read. Read more »

Brittany McMillanBrittany McMillan, Founder of #SpiritDay
At just 15, Brittany ignited a national movement in support of LGBTQ youth when she started Spirit Day. What began in 2010 as a Tumblr page devoted to the memory of LGBTQ or LGBTQ-perceived teens who lost their lives to suicide, turned into a global event that inspires millions of people to wear purple each year in a stand against bullying. Learn more »

Noam ParnessNoam Parness, LGBTQ community organizer, activist, volunteer & all-around rock star
Noam Parness is a 22-year old rising senior at Queens College (and all around inspiring guy), who organizes for the LGBTQ community – both on campus and off. Noam took some time out of his schedule to talk about speaking on National Coming Out Day, the importance of building coalitions within a movement, and how Jewish tradition fuels his work. Learn more »

Upcoming LGBTQ events and opportunities

BornsteinKate Bornstein at Beit Simchat Torah Congregation
On June 22, meet the inspiring Kate Bornstein, Jewish transgender activist, theorist, playwright & performer. Her book, “Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws” is an underground best seller, propelling Kate into an international position of advocacy for marginalized youth. She’s been honored by the NYC Council, received Keshet’s Hachamat Lev award, and garnered praise from civil rights groups around the globe. Learn more »

LGBTQ Teen ShabbatonCelebrate being yourself! Jewish LGBTQ Teen Shabbaton
This August, join Jewish LGBTQ and allied teens for a weekend of fun, social activities and supportive learning sessions at the Isabella Freedman. Presented in partnership with Keshet and UJA-Federation of New York. Learn more »

Camp PrideCAMP PRIDE Summer Leadership Camp
Let’s go camp! Now you can develop friendships for a lifetime with other LGBTQ and ally college students, build your leadership skills and take action as a social justice advocate for a safer and more inclusive campus. Learn more »

Ways to Get Involved

GLSENStart a GSA at your school!
Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Did you know that the first GSA was the idea of a straight student? Find out how to start your own GSA or join an existing network. Learn more »

Trevor ProjectVolunteer with The Trevor Project!
Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources and advocacy. Trevor recognizes that volunteers are the backbone of the organization, and offers ways to get involved at all ages. Are you interested in volunteering? Learn more »

Human Rights CampaignVolunteer with Human Rights Campaign!
Volunteering with HRC empowers you to be an important part in creating change for our country. Work with HRC to educate the public about critical issues in the LGBTQ community, mobilize your community to take action, expand the voice and visibility of the LGBTQ community, and bolster a a nationwide effort to end hate and discrimation. Learn more »

Pledge to Speak out against intolerance!

It Gets Better ProjectIt Gets Better Project
Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are, and growing up isn’t easy. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBTQ people the leavels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years.. Pledge to speak up against hate and intolerance. Learn more »

The Bully ProjectThe Bully Project
A year ago, BBYO teens launched Stand UP for Each Other: A Campaign for Respect and Inclusion, a grassroots effort focused on creating safe and welcome communities for all Jewish teens. Show your support for the Stand UP Campaign by helping BBYO and The Bully Project raise awareness around this very serious issue and put an end to bullying. Learn more »

Do Not Stand Idly ByDo Not Stand Idly By, a Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives
Do Not Stand Idly By asks the Jewish community to pledge to end homophobic bullying and harrassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations, and communities. As a signatory, you are supporting an fully inclusive Jewish community, and pledging to speak out when witnessing intolerance. Learn more »

More resources

Check out these additional resources on how to help make this world a more inclusive society for all.

So, how will you make this world a better place? Let us know @repairtheworld.