Every year, during the month of June, the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride Month that includes a variety of gatherings and experiences as a way of recognizing the influence LGBTQ+ people have had around the world. June was chosen for Pride Month because the Stonewall Riots (which served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement and led to the creation of various gay activist groups in the United States) took place in June 1969.
In that spirit, LiNK Jewish Buffalo is spotlighting LGBTQ+ leaders in Jewish Buffalo throughout June, and today we’re delighted to cast a spotlight on Sara Weinstein and Mel LeMay who were recently married on June 11.
Sara grew up in Buffalo, was a member of Temple Beth Am (now Congregation Shir Shalom), attended Camps Centerland and Lakeland, and is a Williamsville East alumni. With a BA in Political Science and her MA in Health Education, Sara now teaches Public Health and Health Education at Monroe Community College in Rochester NY and at the College at Brockport.
Mel, originally from Texas, received a BA in English and Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame. After pit stops in North Carolina and Binghamton, NY, they have been enjoying living in Buffalo for the last 5 years, where they received a MA in social work from UB. Mel is now a licensed social worker and the Director of Health Education and Outreach at the Pride Center of Western NY.
Sara and Mel have been together for four years and met when Mel applied for a job on which Sara was on the hiring committee. They became friends and bonded over their shared interest of sexual health education, which serves as a thread in both of their professional careers. They’ve enjoyed traveling Europe together and look forward to their honeymoon trip to Italy in a few weeks. In October, they’ll also travel to Israel on the Buffalo Israel Experience.
On reflecting on Pride Month, Sara and Mel shared that due to the pandemic this year’s Pride theme of homecoming really resonated with them and helped ground their Pride celebrations.
Sara and Mel are so appreciative of Jewish Buffalo and are very thankful to everyone who have welcomed them. They have enjoyed being a part of each of the intersecting organizations including Congregation Shir Shalom, LiNK Jewish Buffalo and Nickel City Jews. Mel shared as someone who is not Jewish but considering Judaism that they have loved, “being accepted, included, and given space to be their self and figure out their future journey”.