We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Goodman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want to be remembered for connecting people and making our LGBTQ+ community a more inclusive, welcoming, and joyful place for folks to meet, work, and love together. I’ve been active in the Los Angeles queer community for the last (almost) 10 years, constantly introducing myself, making new friends, and putting on events and gatherings. I’ve garnered a rather large Rolodex of individuals, organizations, and businesses over the years that I always keep in the back of my head for when an opportunity arises to work or collaborate with them, and/or introduce them to someone else who needs them. As an oppressed group of people, it’s so important for our LGBTQ+ community to support one another, and I’ve made it my mission in life to ensure I’m doing just that. I may not be a big celebrity, or the most financially successful, but I love meeting people, learning about their work, passions, and purpose, and if I can do one thing to help steer a moment in their life, THAT is what keeps me going, and that’s what I want my legacy to be.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am the Program Director for JQ International, an LGBTQ+ and Jewish community programs and services organization based in LA. JQ works to create community events, provide educational programming, and offers support services all based on creating greater inclusion within the LGBTQ+ and ally Jewish community. When I was first brought on, my job was to create events for the organization, market them, and increase the amount of attendance and overall outreach for JQ. I was also hired to run the Teen JQSA (Jewish Queer Straight Alliance) the youth division of the organization. I really had no idea what I was doing, and had never worked for a non-profit before. It wasn’t difficult persay, but It did require me to research, dive in deep, and figure out what WASN’T working, in order to start changing things so that they DID work. It wasn’t that there was a lack of LGBTQ+ Jews in LA, they just didn’t know about JQ, and/or the events weren’t catering to their needs. I overcame a lot of the early challenges by making my job more than just a 9-5. As someone who IS Jewish and Queer, i really had to bring my career with me wherever I went. I made sure to always promote myself as a proud JEWISH lesbian/ queer person, and anytime I met a fellow Jew in the city and/or someone who was interested in Judaism, I made sure to tell them about JQ. I think this was the start of me really taking advantage of my connections around the city, and my passion for meeting new people, and using that to help others and the organization I was working for. Since my time at JQ, we’ve more than tripled the amount of attendance at most of our events. I’ve seen people come to one event alone and scared, and then come to the next with a group of friends they met at the first one. I’ve seen relationships build and friendships take off. I’ve seen teenagers increase their confidence and become proud queer leaders. I’ve been a part of shaping our LGBTQ+ and Jewish community in Los Angeles as well as build up my own confidence, skills, and abilities in the process. I’ve also used my connections within the community to work on other projects and create new spaces like Open Dyke Night (ODN) , a lesbian/ queer piano bar night formally at Tramp Stamp Grannies in Hollywood, and my work for the HER app from 2016 – 2018, producing massive quarterly events for lesbians/ queers, providing spaces that differ from your average night club or gay bar, with the mission of creating connection, meeting others, and feeling heard, seen, and/or a part of our special LGBTQ+ community. I think when you’re a part of a marginalized group, you can’t expect that most events and safe spaces are going to appear out of nowhere. As an activist and an event coordinator, I find it extremely rewarding to provide these spaces, keep the community alive, collaborate with other LGBTQ individuals, spread inclusion and continue to raise awareness within our community at large.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m big into thrifting, and most of my friends are too, so I would probably take them on a thrifting adventure around town, followed by food and drinks. Some of my favorite thrift shops are BTS Thrift Store, Friends of Animals Foundation, and of course St. Vincent Depaul Thrift. Would probably do Oysters and L& E Oyster bar if in Silverlake, or Gracias Madre for vegan Mexican fusion if in West Hollywood. I’m also big into picnics and parks and always enjoy Barnstall Art Park to get the best view of the city! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shout out to Asher Gellis, the Executive Director at JQ International. I was hired by Asher and JQ after randomly working on a fundraising event for him with a friend back in 2015. I was brought on to help plan and organize it, but had no idea that this would be the start of my entire career. Asher saw something in me that no one else did, and offered me an opportunity to work for the organization full time doing something I had never ever done on a professional level before. I’ve since worked for JQ for the last 5 years, and they are a huge part of my journey in discovering my passion for event organizing, connecting to others, and working to create greater LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Jewish community. Asher has allowed me to be my most creative self, and give me the freedom and control to create experiences for others in a way that I feel was most needed in our community. He really helped jump start my career and I am forever grateful for that.
Other: Tik Tok: @AnnaRGoods
Anna Falzetta, Mariya Stangl