Pride and Progress: Updates From the Fight for LGBTQ Equality


Pride month brings a multitude of victories and debates, celebrations and reflections, from the U.S. to Israel and across the globe.

We at the Schusterman Foundation have been working with dedicated partners to advance equality for LGBTQ communities in the U.S. and Israel for more than a decade. Together, we have come a long way. But we also recognize there is still important work to be done in the Jewish community, in Israel and beyond. 

This month, we are proudly highlighting the work of leaders who are using their creativity, insights and skills to benefit the LGBTQ community and world-at-large.

In these five brief audio clips, you’ll hear how these leaders and their organizations are mobilizing their communities, advocating for policy change and working with allies to advance equality. From Tel Aviv to Tulsa, you’ll hear incredible stories of progress. We hope you enjoy listening!

The artwork in this blog post was created by LGBTQ artists at YoMeryl, who are part of the Asylum Arts network.

Idit Klein, President and CEO of Keshet

“I'm someone for whom being a Jew has always been about pursuing justice,” Idit Klein told us when we asked her about her professional journey. Her organization, Keshet, promotes the inclusion of LGBTQ people in all aspects of Jewish life.

Idit spoke passionately with us about why the current moment calls for allies to stand up in support of the LGBTQ community and emphasized the role we can play in helping young members of the community find their way in the world.

Tye Gregory, Executive Director of A Wider Bridge

A Wider Bridge is a U.S.-based organization that envisions a progressive movement in the U.S. that sees no contradiction between a love for Israel and a commitment to social justice and equality.

We spoke with Executive Director Tye Gregory about what motivates his work, what Israel can teach the world about acceptance and how the LGBTQ community is bringing different groups together in Israel.

Toby Jenkins, CEO of Oklahomans for Equality and The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center

For more than 40 years, Oklahomans for Equality has been pursuing equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals. The organization is celebrating its first Pride from its home base on the newly named Pride Street, a proclamation by the City Council and the Mayor of Tulsa in honor of the work that Oklahomans for Equality does for all citizens of Tulsa. 

Hear this story and more from Toby.

Elisha Alexander, Executive Director of Ma'avarim

A community organizer and transgender rights activist in Israel, Elisha Alexander leads Ma’avarim, an organization whose goal is to empower and support members of the trans community, facilitating both personal and social change.

Ma’avarim has celebrated some remarkable victories in the last year. Elisha shares what these accomplishments mean, and discusses how his organization is spreading messages of acceptance, empowerment and justice throughout Israel.

Ohad Hizki, CEO of The Aguda

The Aguda advocates for equal rights for the LGBTQ community in Israel, and its CEO Ohad Hizki has a strong vision for how to achieve these goals.

We talked with Ohad about why the Israel LGBTQ movement calls itself “the proud community” and how the Aguda plans to propel the Israeli government to act on expanding LGBTQ rights—an effort 75% of Israelis support.

We hope that these clips leave you feeling passionate and determined to continue marching toward equality. To learn more and get involved in advocating for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. and Israel, follow our partners:

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.