Feb. 2011 Presentation to San Francisco JCF and Endowment Fund Board
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  • Thank you. Al Baum JCRC Gala.Friday night at Sha’arZahav. AufrufThe LGBT Alliance recognizes that language and identity evolve over time. By the term "LGBT", we intend to be inclusive of all those who identify as part of the entire "LGBTQQI" or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning & Intersex identities & community. We sometimes use "gay" when we mean LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans) because not enough people know what LGBT means. We're starting with what's familiar to most ‘Americans’/’people’ so we reach as many folks as possible.
  • Our Vision: We envision a future in which increasing numbers of LGBT Jews find that engagement with Judaism and the Jewish community adds meaning and fulfillment to their lives. And we envision a Jewish community that is further strengthened and affected by the unique contributions of LGBT Jews. The danger of assimilation is that it might institutionalize more subtle or covert forms of homophobia, transphobia, or heterosexism[i].  The covert & overt: "isms" & "phobias" that mark heterosexism are social, cultural, institutional, and individual beliefs and practices that present heterosexuality as the natural, normal sexual orientation. This heteronormative behavior is a system of privilege and provides disproportionate experiences of opportunity for those that are not within the LGBT, queer, homosexual and gender nonconforming communities. Covert forms of this behavior exist through the neglect of LGBT experiences versus the overt forms of heteronormative behaviors that encourage misinformation and perpetuation of stereotypes. We learned in the Bay Area LGBT Needs Assessment that overt forms of homophobia and transphobia are not "significant barriers that preclude or prevent interest or involvement in the Jewish community." Unfortunately, little data exists regarding the prevalence of covert forms of heterosexism, transphobia and homophobia in the Jewish community. While we did not specifically study the experiences and detrimental effect of covert forms of heterosexism, transphobia and homophobia on LGBT individuals, families and communities, we understand it exists and it is in our own community-interests & self-interests to interrupt this system of covert oppression. Just as anti-Semitism created a ‘survival ethic’ amongst Jews for many generations, and created a strong sense of solidarity, homophobia and transphobia have played similar cohesion-building roles among LGBT communities since the emergence of the modern LGBT-rights movement in the late 1960s. LGBT people often become galvanized and mobilize in the face of violent threats to physical and personal safety, and combating hate crimes against LGBT people is an enduring issue on the movement’s civil rights agenda.
  • How does the LGBT Alliance understand the Bay Area LGBT Jewish Community to be estimated at 36,000 people? The LGBT Jewish population is very diverse geographically, and in terms of age, gender, relationship status, identities, interests and social networks. In 2007 in order to assess the needs of the Bay Area Jewish community the LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (SF JCF) sought to collaborate with the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay (JFED) covering Alameda and Contra Costa Counties and the Jewish Community Federation of Silicon Valley (JValley) covering Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. After community led deliberation the LGBT Alliance chose to work with one partner in order to maximize limited resources and lay leader interest. JFED agreed to the partnership and therefore our understanding of LGBT Bay Area Jews includes the areas that the JFED and SF JCF cover it does not include the areas that JValley encompasses.  Further, the newly formed LGBT Alliance JFED and SF JCF collaboration recognized the need to characterize and specify our target population numerically. Although generally understood as flawed because no questions in the SF JCF's 2004 Community Study specifically ask about gender identity or gender expression, but only questions regarding partnership based on sexual orientation, we use this study as a major source of our understanding. Additionally, the 2004 Jewish Community Study also did not study or involve the Jewish Community of the Greater East Bay covering the FSA of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Nevertheless, these 2004 findings shed light on the basic demographics of the LGBT Jewish community stating that more than 8% of the Jewish households in the Federation Service Area (FSA) of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties identified as LGBT, representing over 21,000 individuals.  According to the Williams Institute about 9 million American adults are LGB (4%) and they further that estimation with Trans adults stating that perhaps 500,000 American adults (.25%) are Trans. The distinction between Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual identities or identities based on sexual orientation and Trans identities or identities based on gender expression is essential to differentiate. Also according to the Williams Institute about 1.3 million Californians (5%) are in intimate relationships with people of the same sex or gender. 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. Yet, other 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.  Continuing to move forward towards a number that includes our professional Jewish and/or LGBT based expertise as well as being sure to incorporate the LGBT Jewish population of the JFED FSA and acknowledging that any number would be flawed due to the lack of any official demographic study of the Transgender or gender non-conforming members of any community. We took into account the understood 1986 JFED FSA estimation of 54,500 and the baseline data of the 1986 Bay Area population study showing the SF JCF FSA population at 119,000 and these same numbers and regional estimates in 2004 that the SF JCF FSA population was at 228,000 and the JFED FSA population in 2004 at 110,000. Additionally with the analysis from the Urban Institute of U.S. Census 2000 that the dense concentration of same-sex couples in both the City of Oakland and the City of San Francisco.  According to the evaluation of these findings our LGBT Alliance Lay Leaders estimated that the Bay Area LGBT Jewish population is about 11% of the Bay Area Jewish community. Of course in recognizing easily debatable findings we have possibly the 3rd largest Jewish community in the country and one of the largest LGBT Jewish communities based on percentage in the world. In January 2008 the group voted to assume that of the estimated 36,000, or one to two in ten adult Jews in the greater Bay Area covering San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa and Sonoma Counties self-identify as LGBT.  Suffice to say, LGBT American adults are raising a lot of children. In the SF JCF FSA according to the 2004 study 11% of LGBT Jewish households have children living in the home and two-thirds of LGBT Jewish parents are single. This can mean LGBT Jews are raising children in single-parent-led homes. The Williams Institute reported at the time of our findings that LGBT American adults are raising nearly 400,000 kids in all. These numbers of course impacts our understanding of the barriers for LGBT Jews involvement in the organized Jewish community. It also needs to be noted that although we have a surface understanding of the sizable number of young people raised by LGBT Jewish adults in our community these young people are not included in the 36,000 number detailed above. 1986 The LGBT Alliance PAG recognizes that language and identity evolve over time. By the term "LGBT", the PAG intends to be inclusive of all those who identify as part of the entire "LGBTQQI" or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning & Intersex identities & community. We also sometimes use "gay" when we mean LGBT because not enough people know what LGBT means. In our goal of inclusion we're starting with what's familiar to most ‘Americans’ so we reach as many folks as possible.Just over 8% of Jewish households (about 10,000) identify as LGBT, nearly identical to the 9% who identified this way in the SF JCF FSA 1986 study. These 10,000 LGBT-identified households include 13,000 Jews, 2,000 non-Jewish partners and spouses, as well as 2,000 children under the age of 18. It is interesting to note that in 1986 two out of three LGBT-identified households (66%) resided in San Francisco County, as compared with only 21% in 2004. In addition, over half (57%) of the LGBT households now reside on the Peninsula, reflecting the general movement of FSA Jews south of the city. Almost one in ten Jewish households is poor, defined as 150% of the Federal Poverty Level income for the San Francisco area. As an example, a family of three with an income of $30,000 or less would be considered poor. Poverty is highest among singles, LGBT households, Russian speakers, and single parent families. Specifically according to the SF JCF 2004 FSA study: There are 14,800 Jews and 6,300 non-Jews who reside in 10,400 Jewish households that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.LGBT households comprise over 8% of all households in the FSA.In the 1986 study, LGBT households were concentrated in San Francisco County. Today, they are widely dispersed over the FSA.The distribution of the LGBT identified population in the SF JCF FSA in 1986 is understood in the following way: Sonoma County 5%, Marin County 13%, San Francisco County 66%, North Peninsula 8%, and South Peninsula 8%.The distribution of the LGBT identified population in the SF JCF FSA in 2004 is understood in the following way: Sonoma County 11%, Marin County 12%, San Francisco County 21%, North Peninsula 27%, and South Peninsula 29%.Two-thirds of the LGBT households are headed by a single person, split evenly between young (under age 40) singles and older (age 40+) singles.11% of LGBT households have children. Most important, there are more single parents with children than couples with children among these households.Overall, 60% of respondents indicate that it is very likely or somewhat likely they would attend a Jewishly-sponsored LGBT program.The Household compositions of LGBT Identified Jews are understood in the study in the following way: 69% single, 19% with a partner, 7% single parent, 5% couple with children. The Williams Institute advances sexual orientation law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public. A national think tank at UCLA Law, the Williams Institute produces high quality research with real-world relevance. Experts at the Williams Institute have authored dozens of public policy studies and law review articles, filed amicus briefs in key court cases, provided expert testimony at legislative hearings, been widely cited in the national media, and trained thousands of lawyers, judges and members of the public. Between 2002 and 2010, the Williams Institute published 206 publications that provided findings we relied on http://escholarship.org/uc/uclalaw_williamsJasmine Blanchard, Lisa Finkelstein, Bab Freiberg, Sean Mandell, & Samuel Strauss are the professional staff people in part responsible for the statistical estimates stated in the LGBT Alliance documents approved via vote by the LGBT Alliance board in 2008. United States of America's largest percent per capita of Lesbian communities resides in the City of Oakland according to the 2000 US Census.United States of America's densest concentration of same-sex couples resides in San Francisco according to the 2000 US Census.
  • What is clear from our work is that in some respects, Bay Area LGBT Jews are simply a microcosm of the larger Jewish community. Views and practices when it comes to pluralism, interfaith relationships, and Jewish identity are as diverse as those reflected in the larger Jewish community. However, among LGBT Jews, many of these issues are amplified and can lead to marginalization from the Jewish community due to the multiple barriers that need to be broken down before we get to questions of involvement.
  • The headline for the slide is a question that doesn’t appear. Do LGBT Jews need their own spaces and institutions, or do we need to be welcomed in all the institutions of mainstram Jewish community. And the answer to that question is yes and yes.And the Alliance is an example of both. A separate place for LGBT Jews within the Framework of the institution that stands at the center of the broader Jewish community.
  • Long-Term Priorities and Outcomes 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: Programmatic offerings are relevant, accessible, and tailored to specific needs, as well as delivered in ways that our constituents 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 their unique distinctions. Additionally, Bay Area Jewish organizations have the sensitivity and tools to address those issues that present challenges to increased participation in Bay Area Jewish community organizations, including interfaith relationships, LGBT senior lives, blended families, and diverse views on Israel. 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.
  • Welcoming and Inclusion – In and of itself, better meeting the needs of a community that has historically been marginalized and excluded is consistent with our highest Jewish values. LGBT Jews represent a significant portion of the broader Bay Area Jewish community, across all geographies, age groups, and income levels. Working toward greater inclusion that celebrates our diversity is a mitzvah! The power of change – While many LGBT Jews remain at the margins and unaffiliated with Jewish communal life, those LGBT Jews that have found a path in have made an enormous impact. They have worked to create new vibrant institutions and have contributed to the vitality of existing ones. Every aspect of Jewish communal life, from how we pray to how we work for social justice has been strengthened by the contributions of LGBT Jews over the past three decades. Finding ways to serve this community should only serve to make the broader Jewish community a stronger, more vibrant community in the decades to come. A bellwether for the future – In many ways, the LGBT community represents a microcosm of the broader community. Many of the challenges to greater engagement are either the same as those faced in the community at large, or are issues that will likely be at the forefront in years to come. Therefore, in working to meet the challenges of the LGBT community, we will be seeking solutions to issues of great relevance to the community as a whole, both now and in the future. To the extent that we succeed, the benefit will rebound far beyond the LGBT Jewish population whose needs this plan seeks to serve.

Feb. 2011 Presentation to San Francisco JCF and Endowment Fund Board Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Celebrating Distinctions Understanding the LGBT Alliance withinthe needs of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Community 1
  • 2. Overview• Beginnings- 1996 with the leadership of Al Baum• Mission- Increasing opportunities for Bay Area LGBT Jews to fully participate and celebrate in Jewish life.• Staff- Lisa Finkelstein, Director• Lay Leadership- Arthur Slepian, Chair Advisory Board• Core Partnership- Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay (JFED)• Online- http://www.qjew.org• 2010 Published Documents- LGBT Needs Assessment Study and our Strategic Plan titled, Celebrating Distinctions
  • 3. A Large & Diverse Community• Estimated over 10% or 36,000 LGBT Jews amongst the total San Francisco Bay Area Jewish population• Estimations do not include children raised in LGBT households or LGBT identified people under 18- years-old• Diversity is vast across age, affiliations, gender identity, sexual orientation, geography, family status, spiritual connections, health status, socio- economic status, interests and social networks
  • 4. Sharing Similar and yet, Distinct Challenges• Similar to the broader Jewish community, only more so…. • Affiliation • Inter-marriage • Israel Perspectives • Socio-Economic Status • Religious Observance• And yet, some unique and distinct challenges… • Bullying • New family structures • Gender identity and expression
  • 5. Not either/or, but both!
  • 6. Long Term Priorities1. Targeted engagement & programming2. Inclusion and Welcoming3. Access and Visibility4. Information and Connection5. Opportunities for Philanthropy
  • 7. How does the LGBT Alliance build community?Partnership Activism CelebrationsOur community is In the Jewish tradition of Through multi-prongedrecognized globally as a pursuing tzedek or justice efforts that includesmodel in LGBT inclusion. leaders of the LGBT Alliance leadership together raise our voices development, advocacy, aIn order to help sustain and and take action. nd community organizingbuild on this understanding we celebrate our dualisticwe work alongside many We are involved in the LGBT and Jewish identities.organizations and work as Marriage Equalityactive members of Kol Movement, host a We also work to welcomeTzedek. Transgender Task Force & newcomers and celebrate support anti-bullying LGBT and Jewish holidays. initiatives.
  • 8. Moving Forward• Build Community Partnerships• Develop Leadership• Foster Engagement with Israel• Develop online content and access to resources• Cultivate Giving
  • 9. Strength in our WorkWelcoming & Inclusion The Power of Change A Bellwether of the Future