Hillel recently released a guide for including LGBTQ students in its campus activities. The guide, downloadable as a pdf, and the press release are available in full here.
At 186-pages, it’s lengthy and fairly comprehensive, touching on topics from the history of the American LGBTQ movements, to resources for coming out, to queer and Jewish content for programming. The guide also includes a glossary of commonly used queer/LGBTQ-related terms.
My concern, however, is that the length will actually be a barrier. Those Hillel staff who aren’t interested in stepping outside the box, or making an effort to include these students in their programming, will be quick to dismiss a document of this length. (I mean, heck, it took me over two weeks since I saw the press release to read it – and I’m interested!) Maybe I’m just jaded by incredibly negative Hillel experiences, but I think this guide is largely “preaching to the choir.”
“Hillel is opening the doors for all Jewish students, of all sexual orientations and gender identities,” says Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone. “The resource guide provides Hillel directors with practical recommendations for welcoming this important population into our Hillels.”
To take off the cynical hat, I hope that Hillel staff are given more than just this guide – that they’re provided with additional resources for understanding what they read, having their questions answered, and ensuring that they do, in fact, make their local Hillel an open and welcoming place for LGBTQ students.