Queer Jewish Pasts

Histories of LGBTQ Jewish Activism in Europe and the United States

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, LGBTQ-RAN hosted a discussion to learn about the pioneers, milestone events, and inspirational moments that marked the early decades of the movement for LGBTQ rights in the American and European Jewish communities. The presentation – by two leading scholars of Jewish queer history – explored the emergence of a specifically Jewish call for inclusion as well as some of the religious and cultural implications.

Dr. Gregg Drinkwater is a lecturer in history and Jewish studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research focuses on sexuality, gender, and Judaism in the modern United States. He has published “Creating an Embodied Queer Judaism: Liturgy, Ritual and Sexuality at San Francisco’s Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 1977-1987” in the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, and is working on a book on the history of gay and lesbian synagogues and their role in incubating queer Jewish space.

Jan Wilkens is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Potsdam (Germany). He holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies and a B.A. in Judaic Studies/Middle Eastern Studies. His research interests include the Jewish LGBTQ+ community, Jewish-feminist discourses, Gender Research, commemorative culture in Europe and Israel as well as provenance research. His master’s thesis analyzes the early years of the world’s first gay outreach synagogue, Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles. 

This special historical presentation is co-sponsored by the CLGS Jewish Roundtable and LGBTQ-RAN.


Jewish (ethnic, Reform, Reconstructionist, Orthodox)