The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
What's going on?
On February 22, 2017 the Trump administration rescinded 2016 federal guidelines instructing public schools to create inclusive environments for transgender and gender non-conforming students, including ensuring access to restrooms and other facilities based on each student’s gender identity. Reform Movement leaders from the RAC, Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis condemned the rollback of these key protections, calling it a “serious step backward in the effort to protect transgender youth—and, more broadly, in the march toward equal civil rights for all Americans.” Read the full statement here.
In May 2016, RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner lauded the Obama administration’s decision to release guidelines that move toward full equality for trans students. The Reform Movement also joined a letter with 30 interfaith groups commending President Obama.
Upcoming Supreme Court Case about Equality for Trans Students
On March 28, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a case concerning whether a trans student can use the restrooms that align with his gender identity in his public school in Gloucester, VA. The Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the student, Gavin Grimm (G.G.), and the school board appealed to the Supreme Court. Even with the removal of the guidelines from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, this case could establish a national standard on this important issue. Read more about this case and other trans equality issues in the courts, and check back for updates on this case.
Position of the Reform Jewish Movement
The Reform Movement has been an advocate for LGBT equality since 1965 when the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) passed a resolution calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. In 2015, the URJ adopted a resolution on the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and the Religious Action Center recently released a Trans Inclusion Guide to help congregations better include transgender and gender non-conforming members and their families.
We are guided by the very basic belief that all human beings are created b’tselem Elohim (in the Divine image), as it says in Genesis 1:27, "And God created humans in God’s own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them." Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in an interview with Fox News, "As it says in Genesis, all humans were created in the image of God. And that means that every person, every soul, is a creature of God that looks like God, whether they are transgender or lesbian or gay, and so we welcome all of them." Learn more about the RAC's work on LGBT Rights.
You can take action by urging your school board to adopt policies that ensure protections for trans students! By filling out the form below, commit to joining the Reform Movement on this important issue.
The RAC will contact you with additional resources and ways to get involved.
Want more resources right now?