the tabernacle

The Torah is often cited as the basis for religious communities to exclude, exile, and stigmatize transgender people—and even to deny us urgent medical care—but the Torah never commands, approves, or encourages such things. Even when Moses declares that those who cross-dress are “abhorrent” to God, he does not claim that God demands that they be “removed from camp.” Though there have always been people who do not fit into the categories of male and female, the Torah says nothing about us. It does not portray us as a threat or an abomination; it doesn’t declare us unclean or unfit to participate in communal worship or activities; it doesn’t demonize us, curse us, punish us, relegate us to the margins or the shadows, order gender surveillance to guard against our entry into the community or the Tabernacle, or organize searches to locate and expel us.

The Torah’s silence opened the door for the rabbis of the Talmud to adapt halakhah to enable intersex Jews to participate in Jewish communal life, and, more recently and locally, for Yeshiva University to tolerate my presence as an openly transgender professor. But because the Torah does not acknowledge that there are human beings who are not simply male or female, it shrouds us in silence and incomprehensibility.

The Torah’s detailing of defiling physical differences ensured that these differences could be recognized, spoken of, and understood by communities as part of being human. In order to fully include transgender people, Jewish communities have to follow the Torah’s example—to speak frankly about transgender identities, to recognize and pragmatically address our differences, and to face up to, and change, the communal policies, practices, and habits that, intentionally or not, lead so many of us to be removed, or to remove ourselves, from the camp.

—  Joy Ladin

Some faves from Atlanta. ;)

IMG_5018_filtered by Jaime

Whole set here

Bring Me The Horizon in Atlanta 3/25/17

It was awkward trying to get a pic because we both didnt know what to do because he had to crouch so much being 6'2 and we didnt like that so he was like, “oh come here, let’s do this’ and picked me up by the waist and lifted me in his arm and we posed like that. i said "OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE” and everyone around us laughed. My friend commented later, “I love how your leg was wrapped around him.”
  Finally arriving home in my apartment at 2:30 Monday morning after long flight delays didnt matter. I WAS LITERALLY IN THE ARM OF A BEAMING OLIVER SIM.
  you guys, you dont understand how much I wanted him to do that. its like he read my mind. SURREAL BEYOND WORDS.

Let’s follow that up with a funny one… T&S talk about what they’re thinking about while they’re singing. ;)