Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about JQY. Have a question that’s not featured here? Contact us for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is true that the word "queer" was once used as an offensive epithet. However, the term has since been positively reclaimed by young people and academia. There are multiple definitions of Queer, but JQY uses the word as an umbrella term to include the full spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities outside of cis-gender heterosexuality.
There is no ‘typical’ JQY member. Our members range from traditional Conservative to "black hat," Modern Orthodox to Hassidic. JQY members also vary with regard to current levels of religious observance. We have Baalei Teshuva (people who have become more observant), people from ultra-Orthodox backgrounds who are no longer observant, and everything in between. No matter where you're at, this group is for you!
No. JQY is a 501c3 non-profit organization run by licensed mental health professionals with expertise in LGBTQ issues and a deep understanding of Orthodox Judaism. We believe it is important to create a space where people from similar backgrounds with similar understanding can meet and connect with one another.
We firmly believe in meeting each individual person where they are. We create spaces for individuals who share the common identities of being LGBTQ and Jewish. Our members have many different views on LGBTQ issues and religion, and all are welcome to share their perspectives and experiences with the group and staff. We do not promote a way of life or belief system. We support our members' self-determination, and provide them with support while they explore their own identities, own beliefs, and make life decisions.
JQY is an organization that provides community and support to individuals from religious backgrounds, but is not a religious organization. We advocate on behalf of LGBTQ individuals who come from Orthodox families, are currently Orthodox, or have strong ties to traditional religious Judaism. Our religious-based events are intended to be welcoming to individuals of all denominations. At JQY, we believe that your level of observance is your personal decision, and none of our members are expected to be at any specific level of religious observance.
Our Young Adult, Teen, and Women’s programs each have a monthly support meeting (stay tuned for monthly trans meetings!). These meetings, facilitated by a JQY social worker, and at times in collaboration with JQY members, are an opportunity for discussion around a topic related to being LGBTQ and Jewish. Previous topics have included: "Is coming out a good idea for Jewish youth?", “Challenges of Being LGBTQ in a Yeshiva High School,” "Perspectives on raising children in same sex Jewish households," and "The Queer Beauty Myth." Some meetings feature guest speakers or films that are followed by a discussion. Each meeting begins and ends with time for socializing and shmoozing.
JQY hosts holiday parties, coffee meet-ups, and other social events on a regular basis. Visit our events calendar to check out our upcoming events.
Visit the Join + Contact page to join our newsletter, secret Facebook group, email listserv, find out about events, and more.
JQY is open to all LGBTQ Jewish youth. While there are JQY programs for all ages, our support programming is focused on those ages 13-30. Aside from this, we require nothing of our members. There are no obligations or dues necessary in order to become a JQY community member. All you have to do is sign up for our email list, join one of our Facebook groups, or attend an event.
Many of our members are not yet out of the closet, and we understand the importance of maintaining anonymity and privacy. You do not need to disclose your identity in order to join our mailing list. To join, fill out the form on the Join + Contact page, and one of our licensed mental health professionals will look over the information you’ve provided to ensure that JQY is the right space for you. This process also allows us to provide support for you in the way that you need it most. Our Facebook groups are secret, which means that they are not searchable, and that once you join, the only people who will see that you are in the group are the people who are already a part of the group.
Although we cannot answer that question for you, you are welcome to join our discussion list, Facebook group, and attend our meetings and events in order to explore this further. There is much to learn from the experiences of other JQY members.
JQY is not intended to introduce people to the queer "scene." Our mission is to support and empower LGBTQ Jewish youth, and to provide a space for people to meet and connect with others like them.
You are not alone. Some of our members acknowledge their attraction to the same sex but want to live a heterosexual life for various personal reasons. You can still attend our meetings, discuss your point of view with other members, and meet people who are in similar situations. These supports can contribute to clarity and emotional well-being.
While we do not push any agendas, we stand firmly with the National Association of Social Work, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the prevailing mental health field regarding “reparative” or “conversion” therapy. According to multiple studies, “there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of ‘reparative therapy’ as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation” and “the potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great and include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.” In line with our mission of supporting and empowering LGBTQ Jewish youth, we seek to protect our members from physical and emotional harm, including this ‘therapy.’
There are many ways in which you can contribute to and get involved with the JQY community! Click here to find out the ways in which you can show your support. We also have many programs open to people of all ages and backgrounds. Sign up for our newsletter, or visit our events calendar to find out about our upcoming events. Anyone is welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the group, or about being Orthodox and LGBTQ.
We understand that many individuals may not feel ready to join our listserve or secret social media groups. Fortunately, there are other ways of connecting with us. Visit our Join + Contact page to get in touch with someone directly. You do not have to go through this alone!