Statement on Transgender Rights

Dear Kol Ami Family,

In recent days the current administration is proposing drastic changes to US policy that would, as the New York Times reports, “narrowly define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitals at birth.” In other words, the sex that a person is born with would determine in perpetuity their gender thus defining the category of transgender out of existence. Further, for those who live their lives as genderqueer or non-binary conforming persons, this new proposed policy would also define them out of existence. 

Our congregation has a legacy of being a home for LGBTQ people. Together we have fought for civil rights and equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and queer people. And we have made a safe space for straight people who share in these values and commitments as well. Our Jewish tradition has long recognized at least 6 categories of human beings, including those whose gender isn’t determined at birth. The Talmud discussed this centuries ago.  

Further our Reform Jewish principles of inclusion and welcome and advocacy for Transgender individuals and gender non-conforming persons were affirmed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 2015 and by our Union for Reform Judaism in 2015.

Congregation Kol Ami stands by our trans and genderqueer members and family, and remains committed to fighting every attempt to discriminate against them. 

Our congregation will continue to honor the gender expression determined by the individual with respect and dignity. Our grounding is in the Jewish principle of “B’tzelem Elohim” that all are created in the Divine Image. 

To further support our commitment to transgender rights and the principle of equality, we urge you to join us on Friday night, November 16 at 8pm for our annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Shabbat. This observance takes on a new and even more powerful meaning this year in the wake of these proposed changes. Our service feature  Eli Mendelson, a guest speaker from the trans Jewish community and we will also welcome the chair of the West Hollywood Trans Advisory Committee, Karina Samala. 

We hope to see you at this special service.

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