Transgender rights backed by US Reform
THE REFORM movement in the US has unanimously passed an extensive resolution to support and promote the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming members.
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) voted in favour of the motion last week during its biennial five-day convention in Florida, where 5,000 leaders from around the world represented a total of 1.5 million members.
While the term “transgender” refers to those whose biological gender is different to their mental gender identity, “gender non-conformity” refers to people who express their gender in ways outside the stereotypical expectations of men and women.
Commitments made in the document — which also called on the American and Canadian governments to legislate on equality for all gender identities — include the right to be referred to by your name, pronoun and gender of choice at camps, schools and all congregations.
Branches of the Reform movement are also urged to implement genderneutral toilets, prayer language and administrative forms.
The URJ explained that the resolution was needed because “members of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities face legal and cultural bigotry and discrimination”.
Rabbi Denise Eger, the first openly lesbian president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), said the vote was a “historic moment.
“We believe in Reform Judaism that all humans were created in God’s image, and this resolution is the highest expression of that.”
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, the senior rabbi for the Movement for Reform Judaism, welcomed the move, saying it has been “a litmus test for honouring people” that the URJ had passed with flying colours.
The rabbi added: “As a parent of a person who is non-gender binary [gender non-conforming], this is both professionally and personally one of the most important things in my life.”