Gender Identity and Expression
At Shabbat Services on Friday night, December 8, 2017, the Social Justice Core Committee announced that our first (but far from last!) Justice Initiative will be focused on Gender Identity and Expression. For more information, please read the attached speeches by Nilene Evans Chase about the process for identifying our first Initiative and the initial plans for moving forward and by Rabbi Paul about the Jewish values that underlie and support this Initiative. Please keep watching this space for more information about our plans.
- Gender Identity and Expression
- LGBTQ Awareness
Here is a clash of Immigration, Asylum and Transgender Rights -
FREE ALEJANDRA, TRANS RIGHTS ACTIVIST SEEKING SAFETY
Alejandra fought for transgender rights for more than a decade in El Salvador. She was forced to flee after repeated attacks and extortion by a criminal gang, as well as abuses by the Salvadoran military. Alejandra was sexually assaulted by both the gang and military personnel because of her transgender identity. But instead of offering her safety and a chance to rebuild her life, the U.S. government is detaining her in a private prison with inadequate and unresponsive health care. Alejandra is now stuck at the Cibola detention center in New Mexico, waiting for an immigration judge’s decision on her asylum claim. She should be free – not behind bars. Join us in demanding that ICE release her on parole – so she can reunite with her niece, who is living in the U.S. and has already won her asylum claim.
Alejandra’s situation is not unique; there are many more trans people seeking asylum in the United States stuck waiting for months in detention centers where they are at risk of ill-treatment because of their gender identity, medical needs, or the trauma they have endured. It is cruel and unnecessary for U.S. immigration authorities to detain people fleeing to the U.S. in search of safety from persecution and violence, including brave women like Alejandra.
Tell ICE to release Alejandra, along with other transgender asylum seekers detained at Cibola!
Here is a link to a Modern Love story that should make us all think about what gender really is: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/style/modern-love-neither-male-nor-female-seems-to-fit.html
It's a Theyby - Here is a link to a provocative article about raising a baby without a gender identity. https://www.thecut.com/2018/04/theybies-gender-creative-parenting.html
- Our first event was a Shabbat Lunch N’Learn on February 3, 2018, where 35 of us discussed Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt, led by Laurie Rochlin and Nilene Evans, and our responsibility to treat all people with respect. If you want to learn more about Nicole, watch her Ted Talk on Youtube. Here are the handouts from the event - discussion questions, FAQs about Transgender People, Supporting Transgender People - Being an Ally, and The Gender Unicorn. We also watched a brief video on What not to Say to a Transgender Person
- LGBTQ & ALLY TEEN SHABBATON GATHERINGS - Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life, is sponsoring these Shabbatonim as well as trips to Israel for LGBTQ & Ally Teens. For information, see https://www.keshetonline.org/teenshabbaton
- The NJ Senate and NJ Assembly passed joint resolutions that would designate Nov. 14-20 of each year as Transgender Awareness Week and Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance. The week would be used to “increase awareness and understanding of the prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender persons face,” according to the legislation. Nov. 20 would honor the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
- Walking a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes - Please see the op ed piece from the December 15, 2017 NY Times.
- What is in a pronoun? Read this recent op-ed from Jennifer Finney Boylan in The New York Times. I use whatever pronoun my students choose for themselves, simply out of respect for them.
- Resources from our work with Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life.