CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

People choosing between being gay or religious, council’s LGBT+ debate told

Campaigner warns of dangerous assumptions that 'everything is ok'

21 July, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Dalia Fleming from KeshetUK

A CAMPAIGNER has told the Town Hall how her charity is trying to break down religious hurdles for the LGBT+ community.

Dalia Fleming, from KeshetUK, works specifically with the Jewish faith but told an all member council meeting that people from other backgrounds also felt they had to choose between being LGBT+ or their religion.

She said: “We believe in a world where noone has to make a choice between their Jewish and LGBT identity. The idea that you can choose between Torah, synagogue, family, culture and another intrinsic identity feels basically impossible. But it’s a position that a lot of Jewish people, and what I can understand as well, lots of people of faith in general are made to make both in their faith communities and in the LGBT+ community – not understanding that actually you can be both.”

She told councillors that KeshetUK based in Greenland Street, Camden Town, was “working with Jewish schools, youth and young adult organisations, synagogues and wider Jewish communal organisations, so that for any Jewish institution that any LGBT+ person may want to walk into and have a service from, they have the experience that they’re expected to have.”

She added: “Last year, we worked with 1,800 young people and this year we worked with 3,000.”

Ms Fleming was among a series of speakers invited into the full council meeting for a themed debate on LGBT+ rights in the wake of an attack on two women on a night bus in West Hampstead.

She said: “I don’t doubt there isn’t care at Camden. But so often there’s actually a lack of knowledge, there’s an assumption that actually it’s ok, it’s fine – and then two women get harassed for not kissing on a bus in Camden. I think engaging with organisations and engaging with the community is really important to understand what services we can be doing, and not making those assumptions that everything is ok.”

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