Why is it a Jewish value to support LGBTQ+ rights?

Judaism teaches that we are made b’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image, meaning our LGBTQ+ identities are not something to be ashamed of, but rather unique and integral parts of who we are. Judaism also teaches us to put life above all else. Because of our value of pikuach nefesh, it is vital that we fight back against life-threatening policies that tell LGBTQ+ and trans people that they do not have a right to exist. Given the rhetoric from communities of faith that oppose LGBTQ+ rights, our elected officials need to hear from Jews and other pro-equality people of faith in support of LGBTQ+ rights. It is critical that we speak out — not despite our religious tradition, but because of our ethical mandate to fight for human dignity and justice.

Read more: It’s a Mitzvah! Take Action for LGBTQ+ Rights.

Why are LGBTQ+ issues so big right now?

Some people in power have learned that they can gain attention and power by pushing extremist anti-LGBTQ+ policy that exploits the public’s lack of familiarity with transgender and LGBQ+ people and dehumanizes our communities. This cynical tactic relies on stoking fears about LGBTQ+ folks to divide and distract the public, and is the same strategy that antisemites have used against Jews for centuries. These politicians refuse to address what our families and communities really need: better policies and resources for everyone. Instead of working for jobs, healthcare, paid leave, housing, environmental justice, and more, these policymakers are attacking trans youth and other LGBTQ+ people and their families and communities. For more on the current moment in anti-trans and anti-LGBQ+ policy, and what Keshet is doing to fight back, visit the Thrive coalition FAQ.

What is the Equality Act?

The Equality Act is a bill in the United States Congress. If passed, it would update the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. Passage of the Equality Act would provide LGBTQ+ people nationwide with protection against discrimination. The Equality Act has passed in the U.S. House twice and now sits in the Senate. For more information, visit our Equality Act page.

How can we stop state-level anti-LGBTQ+ laws?

Passing the Equality Act would strike down many of these laws. However, passing the Equality Act would require 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to overcome the filibuster, which seems unlikely in the current climate. Because of this, Keshet is working hard at the state level to fight these policies right at the source. We are working with state-based LGBTQ+ rights organizations where a Jewish voice can make a difference, and continue to take action in communities across the country with Thrive: The Jewish Coalition to Defend Trans and LGBQ+ Youth.

How can I make a difference?

There are plenty of ways you can raise your voice for LGBTQ+ equality.

Questions? Contact: [email protected]