Community’s Embrace Eases Tough Year

Rebecca Stapel-Wax, executive director of SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender & Sexual Diversity reflects on year 5776

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5776 has been a very difficult year. Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision to make marriage equality the law, there was a backlash with 200 legislative bills spread across the country proposing to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Eight of those bills were right here in Georgia. Most of these bills claimed religious freedom as a reason to deny people access to services. More concerning was that just by their existence, these bills encouraged distrust, fear and hatred of others.

As Jews we can relate to being scapegoats and targets. Fortunately, our Jewish community responded with love, kindness and voices.

Over the past year two dozen rabbis came to rallies, gave speeches, spoke from the pulpit, wrote emails and informed their congregants about how to Jewishly stand up for equality. In addition, 40 organizations will partner with SOJOURN on Oct. 8 and 9 at Atlanta Pride, and 200 to 300 people will march down Peachtree Street.

It is an incredibly humbling sight to see this hugely diverse group of Jewish babies through bubbes modeling for Atlanta that people of faith not only accept LGBT people, but also encourage them to be full members of their families and organizations.

At Pride, the first LGBT Guide to Jewish Atlanta will debut. Each of our partners is listed with the programs and services they provide and their invitation to people who are LGBT to join them. With rapidly changing social and legal developments, SOJOURN has also included a glossary of terms to be a resource throughout the year.

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