October is LGBTQ+ History Month. What began as a single day, National Coming Out Day on October 11, is now a month dedicated to honoring LGBTQ+ individuals and the history of the community.
Recovering history isn’t always easy, especially for those who in an earlier time had to live (and often still live) closeted lives for fear of hatred, job loss, family rejection, and even death. But over the course of the last several decades, most notably since the Stonewall Riots of June 1969, the LGBTQ+ community has fought for its civil rights in the United States and has increasingly lived life openly as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Reform Jewish community can be proud of its groundbreaking work that welcomed, embraced, and fought for LGBTQ+ rights and continues to do so. Especially now, when transgender individuals are under attack by our government.
The organized Reform Jewish Movement has stood with LGBTQ+ people since the early 1960s when the Women of Reform Judaism (then, Sisterhood, NFTS) became the first to call for the decriminalization of adult consensual sexual relations between people of the same gender. It wasn’t so long ago that gay sex was a criminal act! Both the Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis have welcomed and affirmed LGBTQ+ people, fought for marriage equality, and our seminary has been ordaining LGBTQ+ people as rabbis and cantors since 1990.
As part of LGBTQ+ History Month, we should also take this opportunity to look forward and understand the ways we must continue to advance LGBTQ+ equality. Below are some resources you can share with your communities and advocate for change:
- Understand the importance of pronoun usage by reading the URJ's Quick Guide to Pronouns.
- Utilize the Transgender Inclusion Guide from the URJ and Keshet.
- Create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group in your community.
- Attend one of the URJ's REDI 101 trainings.
- Take political action through the URJ's Religious Action Center.