NMAJH Kicks Off LGBT Storytelling Project, and Other Reasons It’s a Good Time to Be Gay and Jewish in Philly

There’s an exciting momentum in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ Jewish community that is being highlighted by two major projects: the National History of Jewish American History (NMAJH) is presenting “LGBT Stories: A Collecting Project,” and a new LGBTQ Jewish consortium, J. Proud, is celebrating its one-year anniversary.

NMAJH’s project, an interactive website that encourages users to share their own stories, is in commemoration of the 2015 gay rights movement anniversary in Philadelphia. Museum officials describe the project as follows:

The Tumblr website makes it easy for individuals to post images of artifacts (such as buttons, banners, and signs from rallies or parades, movie tickets, photographs, ritual objects, personal writings, and other images), links to other websites, and stories. The Museum will also post images and stories from its own artifact collection. With the help of Tumblr users, the site will span the early days of the ‘homophile’ movement in the 1950s and 60s, through the post-Stonewall era in the 1970s, the 1980s and the AIDS pandemic, to the current marriage equality movement. This is an opportunity for the Museum and the public to work together to unearth little-known stories and to document and share history in a new, exciting way.

Along with William Way Community Center and Equality Forum, the Museum will participate in a citywide commemoration of the first “Annual Reminder,” a July 4, 1965 demonstration in support of gay and lesbian rights that took place in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Also in exciting news in the queer Jewish community, J. Proud, a consortium of over a dozen Jewish organizations in Philadelphia, recently celebrated its first anniversary. J. Proud’s mission, according to press materials, “is to work together as a collective agent of change to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for the diverse needs of the Jewish LGBTQ community while building relationships with allies in the Greater Philadelphia area.”

J. Proud coordinator Phoenix Schneider is pleased with the progress the consortium has made during its first year. He says, “Last December we started this with seven groups. We’ve doubled in size since.”

Schneider credits the consortium’s success by how present they have been in the community: He claims that out of 175 groups at the city’s Pride celebration this past year, J Proud was the only Jewish one present. “We are increasing visibility,” he added. “J. Proud was also at OutFest and we plan on being at every event. We’re out there in the community, not just waving a flag. I really want to have everyone have a voice. It’s very exciting.”

For more information on J. Proud, you can visit its Facebook page.