JQT Vancouver and JFS Vancouver are partners – with support from Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver – on Twice Blessed 2.0: The Jewish LGBTQ2SIA+ Initiative.
The purpose of the initiative is to understand the current needs of the Jewish LGBTQ2SIA+ community. The agencies involved are committed to creating an inclusive community and survey feedback will inform the changes they need to implement. The self-identification survey is open to all members of the Jewish LGBTQ2SIA+ community and can be accessed at tinyurl.com/twiceblessed2.
In 2004, Jewish Family Services (then Jewish Family Services Agency) conducted Twice Blessed: The Jewish LGBT Project – Needs Assessment of the Jewish LGBT Community in the Greater Vancouver Area. For full transparency, this survey was conducted, but only resurfaced in 2021 during an interview for JQT’s B.C. Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project with Jacqueline Walters, who conducted the 2004 survey. (JQT, pronounced J-cutie, is a Jewish queer and trans nonprofit dedicated to “queering” Jewish spaces and “Jewifying” queer spaces to make them more inclusive.)
It has been nearly two decades since this 2004 assessment was conducted, and JQT and JFS apologize that its findings were not acted upon, and want to honour those who participated in that survey by amplifying their voices today.
JQT has been contracted by JFS to update the assessment, using the same or similar questions and adding new questions as language and needs have evolved, in order to compare data, compile, analyze, report and make recommendations on next steps for LGBTQ2SIA+ initiatives.
This new initiative began on Nov. 15, 2021, with a full day of JFS staff training, at which JQT presented on Jewish organizational LGBTQ+ inclusion information collected during the oral history project. JQT will present to the JFS board in early 2022, followed by a JQT-led JFS virtual townhall on April 10, 6-8 p.m., with the findings from the updated survey.
According to a 2020 Simon Fraser University survey of 4,000 Canadians, 10% of respondents identified themselves as part of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community. Further, Statistics Canada and United Jewish Federations of Canada estimate the population of Jewish people in British Columbia at 35,000 with 26,255 in Vancouver, meaning that approximately 2,626 Jewish queer and trans people live in the city. This number is likely higher, given many queer and trans Jews come from mixed families (multicultural, multiethnic, multifaith), patriarchal Jewish families (traditional Judaism follows matriarchal descent), are in diverse relationships, may be unaffiliated to the Jewish community and/or vary in how they identify Jewishly. Currently, JQT’s reach is approximately 1,000 in the Vancouver area, or 38% of the estimated total JQT community.
This latest survey is for people living in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the online questionnaire is 100% anonymous, and optional, though JQT and JFS strongly encourage community members to participate. The higher the number of participants, the more confidently JQT and JFS can create strategies to affect real and necessary change.
JQT and JFS will not collect personal information such as your name, address or IP address, in order to protect your confidentiality. All information gathered will be securely stored by JQT, accessible only by JQT founder and executive director Carmel Tanaka and shared with JFS chief executive officer Tanja Demajo.
The survey is open for submissions until March 27, 2022. It has a total of 45 questions and will take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The first question is required but the rest of the questions may be left blank – though JQT and JFS encourage people to complete the survey to the best of their ability. Please check all categories that apply, or specify in point form in the comments field. The examples listed are designed to illustrate some of the possible answers and are not intended to be exhaustive.
Language and terminology on ethnicity, race, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, and many more identities are constantly evolving. JQT has prepared a glossary resource for reference.
If you are a parent of LGBTQ2SIA+ Jewish youth, you may fill it out together with them (noting in the comments that it was jointly completed). If anyone requires assistance in filling out the form – needs to do it over the phone or have it translated, for example – email [email protected].
People should feel free to share this survey with their Metro Vancouver Jewish queer/trans friends, whether they be un/affiliated to the Jewish community, in newsletters and at places of work.
– Courtesy JQT Vancouver and JFS Vancouver