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Does Reform Judaism welcome the LGBTQ+ community?

Does Reform Judaism welcome the LGBTQ+ community?
Answer By: 
Rabbi Victor Appell
Rainbow flag with Star of David on it

Reform Judaism has a long and proud history of working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in Jewish life and for their full civil rights. As early as 1965, the Women of Reform Judaism called for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Resolutions by the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and NFTY – The Reform Youth Movement followed. Both NFTY and the URJ’s summer camps have taken steps to become more inclusive of transgender participants in their material, application forms, facilities, and programs. The social justice hub of the Reform Movement, the Religious Action Center (RAC), has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.

We are guided by the very basic belief that all human beings are created b’tzelem Elohim (in the Divine image), as it says in Genesis 1:27,

“And God created humans in God’s own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them.”

Rabbi David Saperstein, director emeritus of the RAC, has said,

“[R]egardless of context, discrimination against any person arising from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear, or hatred is inconsistent with this fundamental belief. We oppose discrimination against all [LGBTQ individuals], for the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us.”

In 2015, the Reform Jewish Movement led the religious community in affirming the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people. The Movement stated that it: 

"Affirms its commitment to the full equality, inclusion, and acceptance of people of all gender identities and gender expressions."

Today, in addition to several congregations whose primary outreach is to the LGBTQ+ community, LGBTQ+ Jews and their families are welcome in all Reform congregations and communities. LGBTQ+ Jews may be ordained as rabbis and cantors and they serve throughout the Reform movement. Most Reform rabbis and cantors gladly officiate at same-sex ceremonies.