Celebrating Distinctions Presentation

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Hundreds of leaders were actively involved in this strategic planning process that led to this presentation of the document, Celebrating Distinctions, including lay leaders, academic researchers, parents, nonprofit professionals, Jewish educators and rabbis. This work is the direct result of a broad-based community planning effort stemming from the LGBT Study directed by Dr. Caryn Aviv. The additional research for this work was conducted by Samuel Strauss and Lisa Finkelstein in 45 one-on-one meetings with key community stakeholders.

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  • Thank you for having me speak today. It continues to be an honor to serve this community with all of you. Today, in under 15 minutes, I want to talk about the work of the LGBT Alliance and review with you the process that we have been conducting in partnership with the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay. The information I am presenting is in draft form. So, I welcome your feedback after the presentation because in the coming weeks I will begin to work with a few Lay Leaders to make the case for the work of the LGBT Alliance in the greater community. Additionally, if at any time you are not familiar with a word or a phrase that I use, I welcome you to come into my office, call me or take a look at our draft strategic plan on our new website because we have included a three-page listing of terminologies that are often used in the rapidly shifting LGBT vernacular.
  • Let me start by listing a few words and please raise your hands if you are familiar with these words.Let’s start with our name, LGBT. Do people know what this stands for? LGBT/LGBTQ/GLBTQ/ LGBTQIQQA, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. This acronym is one of the most commonly used terms for identifying the non-heterosexual or straight community. Occasionally the term will be expanded to read LGBTQ I QQA. In this case, people who identify as Intersex, Queer, Questioning, and Asexual and/or Allied have been included in the term. By using LGBT in our name or title the LGBT Alliance intends to be inclusive of the spectrum of identities within the LGBTQIQQA. QueerA historically colloquial derogatory slur or term used as a description of people perceived or that identify as LGBTQIQQA and used today as a colloquial term in the LGBTQIQQA vernacular as a reclaimed description of identity as well as an umbrella term for those who do not necessarily conform to gender and sexuality social norms.Ally, a person who actively supports and advocates for people who belong to marginalized group(s) without being a member of that group(s). Heterosexism, Heteronormative Behavior, Homophobia, biphobia & Transphobia , A social norm experienced in covert, overt, internal and external ways as well as that creates a feeling or understanding of invisibility to those outside of a majority or social norm experience.
  • Moving on into what I am presenting today, the studies that informed our strategic planning process have led us to draft a suggested new mission as well as suggest a new vision, theory of change, 5 long- term priorities and outcomes and 7 strategies for outreach all which we will review in a few slides as well as they are available in full in the document online. Like many community-oriented or organizing processes it is not always the end result that we are seeking to pride ourselves on but the overall process itself. Understanding who makes up the Bay Area LGBT Jewish community, which I will present next, will help contextualize who has taken part in leading this process forward as well as understanding who we studied and what are some of the unique distinctions and challenges that we face.
  • The distinction between Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual identities or identities based on sexualorientation and Transidentities or identities based on genderexpression merits further explanation as it is divided in this slide. Can someone help me with the explanation of the distinction or how sexual orientation and gender identity may also be related in complex ways? Sexual orientation or sexual preference describes a person’s attraction to or affection for others gender expression refers to a person’s choice to follow or disregard social norms for their assigned gender. Therefore, we have our first example of how we often need to think about the unique needs of the LGBT community to be treated or thought of as distinctly four unique sub-groups of a population.
  • Suffice to say, LGBT American adults are raising a lot of children. In the Bay Area 11% of LGBT Jewish households have children living in the home. Two-thirds of LGBT Jewish parents are single meaning LGBT Jews are raising children in single-parent-led homes. This of course impacts our findings on the barriers for LGBT Jews involvement in the organized Jewish community. As single parents with young children primarily on the Peninsula and up in Marin and Sonoma Counties we are hard-pressed to travel distances to the city with friends or even someone we are dating for an LGBT Jewish mixer when we are likely dealing with a few of these challenges: Economically vulnerable as single-parents and not able to afford the time off work or to travel without their child Not very social with other Jews (only 6% of LGB Jews reporting that most of their friends are Jewish)Less attached and more alienated from mainstream Jewish organizationsHave already admitted defeat for looking for a Jewish partner because with such small chances of meeting someone that is both LGBT & Jewish in addition to meeting someone as a single-parent and then of course enjoying who they are as a person has proven difficult.
  • Being in an intimate relationship with someone of the same sex or gender does not always equate to identifying as LGB which is why this number is so low for the total state population. Studies show that approximately 11% of the Bay Area identifies as LGBT making it one of the highest concentrations of LGBT people in the country. We also have the possibly 3rd largest Jewish community in the country. According to the math of our Lay Leaders the Bay Area LGBT Jewish population is 36,000 people or 11% of the Bay Area Jewish community. Again, with debatable findings we have one of the largest if not the largest LGBT Jewish communities in North America.
  • Although some can create statements that we simplyrepresent a microcosm of the broader Jewish community we have specific challenges that are unique to LGBT Jews. Over the 13-year history of the LGBT Alliance we continue to face multiple obstacles to involvement that have not yet been met by the organized Jewish community.LGBT Jews were noted in the most recent Bay Area Jewish Community Federation Study as the least affluent, the most impacted by poverty, and in general underserved by the organized Jewish community. In addition, over half (57%) of the LGBT households reside on the Peninsula and 60% are unlikely to attend a Jewish-sponsored LGBT program.Many surface level questions on how to meet the needs of the Bay Area LGBT Jewish community were raised in that 2005 study, but because of the study's methods and design, the questions were not specifically addressed. Therefore, by going through this strategic planning process we can now present a few strategies that we believe will lead to meeting the needs of Bay Area LGBT Jews where and how they said they needed to be met.
  • The factors that tend to limit engagement in the Jewish community are present to a greater degree among Bay Area LGBT Jews. Here are six examples of what we now understand about this community:There is no singular LGBT community rather Bay Area LGBT Jews often identify with specific subpopulationsSome Bay Area LGBT Jews are already deeply engaged in Jewish life We need easier or accessible paths to involvement, spiritual care and leadershipLack of engagement with Jewish community does not mean lack of deep Jewish identity but it often means that our Jewish identities are not considered part of the mainstream. Many Jewish organizations want help to pro-actively welcome greater LGBT participation (As directed by this strategic plan the LGBT Alliance should seek to promote the full integration of LGBT Jews into the Jewish community in ways that celebrate distinctions, rather than an assimilation that might institutionalize more subtle or covert forms of homophobia, transphobia or heterosexism)
  • Based on our research we identify the following long-term priorities and outcomes as central to our work and planning efforts over the next five years. Long-Term Priority: Targeted engagement & programming Outcome of the Long-Term Priority: There are dynamic selections of relevant and accessible programmatic offerings tailored to specific needs and delivered in ways that they find personally meaningful. Specific sub-populations of the LGBT Bay Area Jewish community feel a greater sense of engagement with the Jewish community. Long-Term Priority: Inclusion and welcomingOutcome of the Long-Term Priority: More Jewish community organizations are truly welcoming to Bay Area LGBT Jewish individuals and families in ways that honor unique distinctions. Additionally, sensitivity and the tools to address issues that present challenges for increased participation in Bay Area Jewish community organizations- such as interfaith relationships, LGBT senior lives, blended families, and diversity of views about Israel -are readily available.  Long-Term Priority: Access and visibility Outcome of the Long-Term Priority: There are clearer pathways for involvement and leadership, with more LGBT Jews in visible positions of leadership in the community, both as professional staff and volunteers. Long-Term Priority: Information and connectionOutcome of the Long-Term Priority: Bay Area LGBT Jews have: (1) Easy access to relevant and sophisticated community tools that provide comprehensive information and resources about events, activities and institutions of interest; and (2) The ability to network and communicate with other members of the community.  Long-Term Priority: Opportunities for PhilanthropyOutcome of the Long-Term Priority: Potential donors within the LGBT community that have both interest and capacity play a larger and more consistent role in sustaining the efforts of the community.
  • Targetedengagement & programmingGreater sense of inclusion and welcoming Increased access and clearer pathways for involvement in visible leadership roles New or more sophisticated and relevant tools, information and connectionGreater opportunities for philanthropy and development (for example, Potential donors within the LGBT community that have both interest and capacity to play a larger and more consistent role in sustaining the efforts of the community continue to need attention. We understand that not many but some LGBT Jews that have the capacity to give, even if it is small, feel connected to tzedakah and tikkun olam by donating when LGBT lives are threatened and AJWS recently opened a grass-roots emergency fund to support the work of people fighting against anti-LGBT legislation in Uganda. Many of the donors that I work with jumped on the opportunity to donate a few dollars because we were able to spread the word via twitter.)
  • Targeted Outreach: Promote & support targeted, local, engagement opportunities that focus on specific sub-populations.Enhance Organizational Capacity:Support training programs for Jewish organizations that promote inclusion and welcoming of Bay Area LGBT Jews. Build Community Partnerships: Organize & collaborate with Jewish groups and organizations to create more social, cultural, community service & spiritually- based programming for Bay Area LGBT Jews. Develop Leaders: Create, promote & support professional development & networking opportunities that prepare Bay Area LGBT Jews to move into leadership roles within Jewish organizations.Foster Engagement with Israel:Design &/or strengthen programs that can foster greater awareness of and engagement with Israel among Bay Area LGBT Jews. Enhance online content and access to resources: Increase the online access points for Bay Area LGBT Jews to develop community. Cultivate Giving: Develop a philanthropic menu and donor cultivation strategy targeted for Bay Area LGBT Jews who have both philanthropic interest and capacity
  • Targeted Outreach: Promote & support targeted, local, engagement opportunities that focus on specific sub-populations.Enhance Organizational Capacity:Support training programs for Jewish organizations that promote inclusion and welcoming of Bay Area LGBT Jews. Build Community Partnerships: Organize & collaborate with Jewish groups and organizations to create more social, cultural, community service & spiritually- based programming for Bay Area LGBT Jews. Develop Leaders: Create, promote & support professional development & networking opportunities that prepare Bay Area LGBT Jews to move into leadership roles within Jewish organizations.Foster Engagement with Israel:Design &/or strengthen programs that can foster greater awareness of and engagement with Israel among Bay Area LGBT Jews. Enhance online content and access to resources: Increase the online access points for Bay Area LGBT Jews to develop community. Cultivate Giving: Develop a philanthropic menu and donor cultivation strategy targeted for Bay Area LGBT Jews who have both philanthropic interest and capacity
  • We now look forward to the hearing the feedback from you which will help solidify our mission and bring our vision closer to reality.
  • Please send me your questions, comments and feedback!
  • Please visit www.jewishfed.org/community/lgbt or www.qjew.org
  • Celebrating Distinctions Presentation

    1. 1. Understanding the LGBT Alliance’s Strategic Plan byCELEBRATING DISTINCTIONS 1
    2. 2. intends 2The LGBT Alliance to be inclusive of thespectrum of identities and expressions of identities within theLGBTQQI communities.
    3. 3. 3Increasing opportunities for Bay Area LGBT Jews tofully participate in and celebrate in Jewish life.
    4. 4. 4About 9 million American adults are LGB (4%) Perhaps 500,000 are trans (0.25%) Source: Williams Institute
    5. 5. 5LGBT American adults are raising nearly400,000 kids in all Source: Williams Institute
    6. 6. 6About 1.3 million Californians (5%) are in intimaterelationships with people of the same sex or gender Source: Williams Institute
    7. 7. 7Bay Area LGBT Jewish households are relatively less affluentwith78% earning less than the Jewishmedian income. Source: 2005 Phillips, Jewish Community Study
    8. 8. 8The intention of our strategic plan is to utilizeour findings to advance opportunities for the LGBTJewish community.
    9. 9. 95 desired outcomes when planning to meet theneeds of Bay Area LGBT Jews
    10. 10. 1.Targeted engagement & programming2.Greater sense of inclusion and welcoming3.Increased access and clearer pathways for involvement in visible leadership roles4.Relevant tools, information and connections that are new and more sophisticated5.Greater opportunities for philanthropy and development
    11. 11. 117 strategy ideas to achieve our outcomeswhen planning to meet the needs of Bay Area LGBT Jews
    12. 12. 1.Targeted Outreach2.Enhance Organizational Capacity3.Build Community Partnerships4.Develop Leaders5.Foster Engagement with Israel6.Enhance online content and access to resources7.Cultivate Giving 12
    13. 13. 13We now look forward to meeting with key communitystakeholders on our strategic plan as we create animplementation plan
    14. 14. 14Please Connect with us with your questions & comments
    15. 15. 15Please visit www.qjew.org!

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