From June 27-29, dozens of Jewish LGBT organizations gathered in Berkeley, CA for the first-ever “LGBT Jewish Movement-Building Convening.” Gabriel Blau, a conference participant and the founder of GayGevalt.com, has been blogging about the gathering for The Shmooze. You can read his previous posts here and here.
We’re into the last day of the convening and getting into how you actually build a movement. In exploring the history of LGBTQ Jewish organizations and projects, the question of what a movement is and whether we are a movement has been prominent. But what is clear is that the work of the organizations and projects represented here is extensive, established and successful.
Collectively we have raised millions of dollars, hosted thousands of LGBTQ Jews at conferences, thrown massive parties, moved political agendas, marched in countless parades, and written thousands of pages in books and articles. We have sat down with mayors, senators, governors and even presidents. The list of what this small group has done goes on and on. There is real power here.
Most of us here know each other, albeit some better than others. But most of us have worked together, or been to the same conferences, or given each other advice about an event, a project, a fundraiser, and so on. We send each other “gigs” when we’re invited to write or speak and can’t do it ourselves, and we enjoy knowing the inside scoop. It’s a large and growing group of people that are “in the know” and have built names for themselves.
But so many still don’t know the full extent of the work, the services available, and the projects and programs going on even in their own backyards that cater to the LGBTQ Jewish community. While we are more visible than ever, there is still an inner circle. This is an opportunity to continue the expansion of that circle and to ensure that more and more people have access, and can shape these efforts themselves.
There is a movement here, and it’s built on the backs of decades of grassroots and political work. In the past ten years alone, however, the work of this collective has reached an astounding level of presence, professionalism and success. Can we make it into something more? In short, yes. The collaboration, introspection and defining that is being furthered and formed here is a great gift to both LGBTQ Jews, and the Jewish world. Stay tuned.