Queer and Jewish Under the Crown

By: Jonathan Friedman  

This study addresses the rich history and identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in the United Kingdom. My goal is to shed light on the kind of identity which LGBT Jews have constructed for themselves as both LGBT persons and Jews. My thesis is that although the LGBT Jewish community in the United Kingdom is just as diverse as its counterpart in the United States, there are some interesting and important differences, especially when it comes to age, the impact of Orthodoxy, and perceptions of antisemitism. The Jewish community in the UK is proportionately more Orthodox than the one in the US, which often complicates coming out and expressing one’s LGBT identity within more traditional Jewish institutions, although many find a welcoming space within the smaller Reform and Liberal branches of Judaism. Older LGBT Jews who have lived through eras of pervasive legal and social discrimination also convey a different set of historical memories than younger millennials. In many testimonies, regardless of age, concerns remain over the persistence and increase in antisemitism.

Jewish, LGBT
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Jonathan Friedman

Professor, History, West Chester University

Jonathan Friedman is currently professor of history and director of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania.