Interesting thing came up in my community and I was wondering what your take on it would be. My community is going to have someone who is transgender speak about her/his issues in a speech to take place in shul. It’s the last straw in a string of events that has led me to contemplate moving out of the community. First they started the women’s megillah reading, then I noticed that pretty much every bar and bat mitzvah in the shul featured mixed dancing. It’s as if the shul wants to be conservative with a mechitza. There are even people in shul who claim to be Orthodox, yet carry openly outside of the eruv, eat in treife restaurants, and work on the second day of yom tov. I just see this as a continuation of the slippery slope in a community that could use more ruchniyus, not talks about how we can’t judge people on their anatomy, but have to understand how they identify themselves.
Help me, am I overreacting? It is an OU shul after all and I thought the OU had some sort of standards.
Let me start by saying that the slippery slope argument is almost like claiming weed is a gateway drug, most of the stoners I know have never tried hard drugs. Most of the shuls I know of with women’s megillah readings only have them because one of the feminist board members demanded such a thing. Then lackluster attendance usually shuts them up. However, transgender issues are a completely different story. I imagine that your shul sounds more like open orthodox and not something that would be sanctioned by the OU.
The problem with transgender is that it really is a slippery slope. Next thing you know, your Rabbi is going to be fired for not giving the latest girl who thinks she’s a boy an aliyah, then you’ll have to put in a unisex bathroom, and before you know it, you will have to have a separate minyan for those who identify as something different than their actual identity. It could get rough.
What I really wonder is what this person plans on talking about. I also wonder if the shul is so tolerant, that they would allow someone with extreme right views to get up and have a talk in shul. Would they allow a JDL/Kachnik to get up and espouse their views. Does this even belong in a shul? Isn’t shul for davening and learning, you failed to mention if this will be a shiur. If it’s a shiur on the gemara’s view of transgender folks, then it’s a different story.
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