Trans­gen­der rights backed by US Re­form

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY JOSH JACKMAN

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.”

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