AZA and BBG is the foundation of BBYO: the building blocks of sisterhood and brotherhood, fraternity and sorority. Our organization is built around gender, however, in current times, where LGBTQ+ inclusion is becoming a commonly discussed topic, IC is a chance to address and promote allyship.
Small, individual efforts can be implemented, like the action of including pronouns in our zoom names and stating pronouns when introducing ourselves. Normalizing this action is a way for cisgender people to become better allies towards our transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming friends, reenforcing a safe and welcoming virtual environment for all.
Replacing the terms “sisterhood” and “brotherhood” with “siblinghood”, saying “BBGs” instead of “B’nai B’rith Girls” and using other gender neutral language is another practice that many of our international leaders have applied. Bringing this home to our local chapters is an essential way of helping BBYO to break down traditional gender expectations and further strengthen our community.
Merch is another example of how gender inclusivity was seen at IC. Attendees were given the choice of being delivered a BBG, AZA, or BBYO swag pack, which allows teens to pick the option they most identify with. Virtual Shuk provides various regional and international items that include BBG, AZA, and BBYO designs (there is additionally a BBYO pride shirt included, which is extremely exciting).
Although there is always more work to be done pertaining to inclusivity, IC included changes that help our organization progress internationally, regionally, and locally in our responsibility to be allies.
Maia Goldberg is a BBG from Evergreen Region.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
The Torah is not just a spiritual guide, but one that helps us live a more moral life, and we can find opportunities to do that actively in BBYO.
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