U.S. Reform Jews, the largest Jewish organization in the United States, may soon be adopting gender-neutral bathrooms at their synagogues. The group could also encourage its rabbis to speak about transgender topics during their sermons. A special proposal that addresses transgender issues is expected to be approved on Thursday at a national Reform Jews conference.
The resolution includes some radical policy shifts that will create a more inclusive atmosphere for transgendered women and men in the religion. It could also affect how transgendered persons are viewed by other mainstream U.S. religions.
Proposal Has Not Inspired Much Controversy Among Jews
Surprisingly, the measure has created very little discord within the American Jewish community. Members of the Union for Reform Judaism, which will vote on the proposal in Orlando, Florida, have largely accepted the idea of unisex bathrooms and more inclusive policies for the transgender community.
According to Michael Toumayan, of the national Human Rights Campaign, "It’s a big deal but at the same time it’s not controversial for them at all."
The Reform Jews Movement Is Taking Transgender Inclusion Seriously
The United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church have also adopted more tolerant views on transgender issues. However, the Reform Jews have gone further by outlining specific actions they will take to create a more inclusive atmosphere for transgender individuals. The steps outlined in the policy would include special training for staff at religious schools, sermons about transgender topics and the designation of gender-neutral restrooms.
The Reform Jews movement has a history of tolerance when it comes to civil rights and transgendered persons. The first transgendered rabbi student was admitted to rabbinical school in 2003. In 2015, the movement required its congregations to accept applications from all types of rabbis no matter their gender identity.
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