Today, at the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) biennial conference in Orlando, Florida is expected to pass the largest resolution on transgender rights of any major religious organization. The resolution urges a move to gender-neutral language, unisex bathrooms and encourages activism on behalf of the trans community.
Reform Judaism has a long history of LGBTQ advocacy. The URJ has supported marriage equality since 1993, as has the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) since 1996. CCAR also passed a resolution in 1977 taking a strong stand against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2006, Rabbi Elliot Kukla became the first openly trans rabbi, and the year after, he wrote two blessings for transgender congregants for the URJ’s Kulanu, a 500-page manual on LGBT inclusion. Nor is Kukla the only trans rabbi.
While other religions, like the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Episcopal Church, have passed resolutions in favor of equality for transgender people, this is the first resolution that encourages internal changes to be more accepting. The URJ is also offering a one-page pamphlet providing help and advice on how to properly adopt this resolution. The pamphlet’s suggestions range from the organizational — like not using gender-based titles like “Mr.” in Synagogue communications — to suggestions anyone can use, like being sure to ask for preferred pronouns.