Date of Award

4-7-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

James F. McGrath

Abstract

LGBTQ Jews are collectively an underrepresented population, and their identification with two minority groups exposes this group of individuals to a great deal of potential hardships. Jewish culture, the largely secular LGBTQ community, and the ever-present gaze of heteronormative Christian society at large unfortunately have the ability to permutate and coalesce in a myriad of destructive ways at the expense of LGBTQ Jews. While the media and academia largely ignore this community at the national level, LGBTQ Jewry in the Midwest is worse off still. Today, there has yet to be a single published article about LGBTQ Jews in the Midwest. Moreover, the specific Midwestern state that will be studied, Indiana, possesses no official support or advocacy groups for this population.

In such a potentially disempowering and oppressive matrix, the need for support from within the Jewish community is ever more necessary-especially if it wishes not to lose its LGBTQ constituency to other more supportive institutions. A baseline understanding of LGBTQ Jewry's situation will be established. Armed with this knowledge, an attempt will be made to understand how welcomed JGBTQ Jews feel in Reform Indiana congregations. In their own words, self-identifying LGBTQ Jews within the Reform movement will share their experiences, concerns, and insights, providing a platform upon which efforts can be made to better understand and fully incorporate this community within the Jewish fold.