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Reform Judaism adopts sweeping new transgender equality policy

Michelle O'Toole November 6, 2015

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) has voted near-unanimously in favour of a resolution affirming transgender rights.

The resolution met almost no resistance during the public vote at the URJ Biennal 2015 event, America’s largest meeting of Reform Jews.

This landmark resolution makes a number of affirmations – recommending gender neutral toilets in Reform Jewish Synagogues and temples, calling for education on transgender issues, and encouraging members of the movement to back transgender advocacy and activism.

The resolution says in part: “We welcome and celebrate people of all sexual orientations in our congregations and oppose laws that fail to uphold principles of equality for all.

“North American culture and society have, in general, become increasingly accepting of people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual, yet too often transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are forced to live as second-class citizens.

“The Union for Reform Judaism affirms its commitment to the full equality, inclusion and acceptance of people of all gender identities and gender expressions.

“[The URJ] affirms the right of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals to be referred to by their name, gender, and pronoun of preference in our congregations, camps, schools, and other Reform affiliated organizations.”

You can read the full text of the resolution here.

 

After the unanimous vocal vote signalled the passing of the resolution the 5000 attendees gave a standing ovation .

Reform Judaism is the largest Jewish denomination in the US, with over two million members, and has a long history of being LGBT inclusive. In 1977 URJ passed several similar resolution affirming the “rights of homosexuals.”

Tracy Wolf, a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in a statement released on the URJ website said: “More than anything, the resolution affirms our Movement’s longtime commitment to LGBT equality and inclusion in our congregations and in our broader society.”

Watch a clip of the moment below:

More: America, Biennial 2015, Reform Jews, reform judaism, Transgender, US, USA

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