Jewish and Transgender
Yiscah Smith’s journey to getting right with herself and God inspired magazine PrimeMind to feature an extensive article on transgender and Judaism. Rabbi Lisa Edwards is also quoted in the article, which also mentions rebbetzin Tracy.
The tradition of interpretation in Judaism has helped some Reform communities to be at the forefront of the LGBT movement since the 70s. Israel is also arguably ahead of America when it comes to transgender equality, allowing people with gender identity dysphoria to serve in the military and subsidizing gender reassignment surgery as a part of the country’s universal healthcare system.
“One thing I’ve seen in my own life and in other people’s lives a lot, is the way in which coming out often makes people recognize how important Judaism is to them,” said Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadasim. “Once you start integrating into your true self, all these disparate parts of who you are flow together better.” Edwards and her partner Tracy Moore have been LGBT activists in Los Angeles for more than two decades.
Jews have been encouraged to question the meaning of Jewish law and adapt it to their own lives for as long as the religion has existed. “There isn’t any one view of any of this,” Edwards said. “I think that fact is what helps a lot of us who are more liberal in our viewpoints.”