The Reform Jew Transgender Resolution is expected to have a major impact on the American Jewish community.
The Reform Jewish Movement, which is the largest branch of Judaism in the U.S., recently made an announcement that it will be passing a new bill that will provide equal status to transgender people among the Reform Jewish community.
The resolution is being taken up for discussion at the Reform Jew Biennial Conference at Orlando, Florida. According to the resolution, the Reform Jewish Movement will support the transgender community with significant changes being made throughout its various camps and congregations. These changes include the implementation of a system that is gender neutral; everything from bathrooms to even language will be overhauled to make sure that there is no discrimination. The Reform Jewish Movement is also pushing for training on gender issues for school staff and is also, encouraging advocacy for transgender people among its members.
Other religious organizations such as the United Church of Christ, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Episcopal Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Association have been known to be progressive in their acceptance of marginalized communities. These organizations have passed similar resolutions in the past that provide equal status to the transgender community.
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However, Michael Toumayan, manager of religion and faith program, Human Rights Campaign, believes that none of these organizations have been as progressive as the Union for Reform Judaism.
The Union of Reform Judaism also stated that the resolution is not a sudden move. In fact, it has been discussed for quite some time. The decision to finally table it is primarily due to the fact that transgender issues have been hitting mainstream awareness, especially with prominent transgender celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox. The Reform Jewish movement passed a bill to provide equal rights and status to homosexuals in 1977.
According to Barbara Weinstein, director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, the new bill is not a major move or change for the Reform Jews. Rather, it is part of the natural evolution that the group experiences every now and then. This evolution is what Reform Jews are recognized for.
A single-page pamphlet containing instructions to help congregations put the new goals into practice will be distributed by the Union. Instructions include suggestions about switching to birth month rather than gender to divide students and to stop the usage of gender specific titles such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
Rabbi Reuben Zellman, the first transgender rabbinic student in the Reform Jewish Movement, stated that the resolution would definitely make a difference, provided that members take it seriously and implement their efforts towards realizing the final goal.
With the Reform Jewish Movement being the largest unit of Judaism in the U.S., the resolution is expected to have a major impact on the American Jewish community.