Item 20.20-30 - Jonathan Lerner

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Jonathan Lerner

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CA JMABC A.1971.001-20.20-30

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  • December 16, 2020 (Creation)

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Born-digital audio (1:32:25)

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Interview with Jonathan Lerner for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Jonathan (he/him) is a gay Jewish man, who was born in Toronto and currently resides in Lantzville, BC. Jonathan shares about his family history briefly, how he knew he was gay and how he came out to acceptance from his mom and sister. He talks about pursuing theater in post-secondary education, and how he volunteered within Hillel and other Jewish campus groups. He talks about being the first openly gay president of the Jewish branch of fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi and what campus life was like for a gay Jew. Jonathan talks about how Hillel came to be involved in Vancouver Pride in 2010 and how more Jewish organizations came to participate with time. He recalls Yad b’Yad, a group for queer Jews and allies, and their difficulties with Vancouver’s Queer Film Festival, anti-zionism, antisemitism and the concept of pinkwashing; a conflict that directly declined Yad b’Yad’s perceived safety in the community and their success as an organization. Jonathan recalls organizing a community vigil for lives lost through homophobic violence and being part of CIJA’s LGBTQ Advisory committee. Jonathan closes by reflecting on how the queer Jewish experience has changed over time and life lessons that have come from this time.

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Interview has been transcribed. Interview also available as video.

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Name of interviewer: Carmel Tanaka

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Place of interview: Lantzville, BC

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Birthdate: 5 March 1986

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Birth place: Toronto, Ontario

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Related Materials: Jonathan worked with Pat Johnson at Hillel and organized with Yad b'Yad together. They reference each other in their On The Record series interviews.

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