LGBT History Month: Jeffrey Weinstein
“I seem to have been a pioneer in realizing the idea for what are now called domestic partnership benefits. It took years for the idea to catch on.” Jeffrey Weinstein is a writer, editor and critic. As a union representative, he won the first employee healthcare benefits for same-sex couples from a private employer. Born in Manhattan, Weinstein was raised in Brooklyn and Queens. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brandeis University before enrolling at the University of California in San Diego, where he pursued graduate work in English and American literature. Shortly after the Stonewell Riots in 1969, Weinstein came out to his family and friends and taught the first class in gay literature in California. Weinstein started his career as a food critic at the San Diego Reader in 1972 and became a restaurant critic for New York’s Soho Weekly News in 1977. He joined the Village Voice in 1981 as editor of visual arts and architecture criticism, where he remained until 1995. In his first year with the Village Voice, Weinstein founded the National Writers Union. In 1982 he helped negotiate the union contract agreement to extend health, life insurance and disability benefits to same-sex partners and other spousal equivalents of the newspaper’s employees. From 1997 to 2006, he served as the fine arts editor and cultural columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and, subsequently, as arts and culture editor for Bloomberg News. In 2009 the University of Southern California named Weinstein deputy director of its Annenberg Getty Arts Journalism Program. The following year, the National Endowment for the Arts named him associate director of its Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. In 2013 and 2014, he served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. Weinstein writes frequently about gay issues. He created the “Out There” column about LGBT culture on artsjournal.com and wrote a culinary coming-out story, “A Jean-Marie Cookbook,” which earned him a Pushcart Prize. He serves on the board of directors of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. Weinstein married his partner of 32 years, the artist John Perreault, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 2008.