[This article appeared in the February 13, 2012 edition of The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-schusterman/jewish-organization-equality-index-gay-inclusion_b_1268174.html?ref=judaism
] Part III
Some are using the JOEI survey as a first step in identifying how they can foster a welcoming environment within their organization, while others have worked on LGBT inclusion for years and are hoping to learn further best practices. All of them see value in the survey as a starting point for advancing an iterative process whereby all Jews, regardless of age, disability, sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, will be welcomed and protected in Jewish organizations and communal life.
If you work for or know of an organization that is struggling with the decision to take the survey or, worse yet, has declined to do so, I implore you to help the leadership understand why it is so vitally important for our LGBT family members and friends and for the health of our organizations.
Now is not the time for us to shy away from challenging ourselves to make substantive change for the better. We have the opportunity to raise the bar in the faith-based world by forging a culture in which inclusivity, diversity and equality are paramount. The more organizations that participate, the more in-depth picture we can paint of where we are as a community on issues of inclusivity and the more opportunities for improvement we will discover.