Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Support From A Needed Ally

When we fight the conservatives bathroom frenzy we have an axe to grind and it doesn’t carry as much weight as when an ally speaks up and when ally is a religious leader it is even more powerful.
Transgender Bathrooms Are a Human Rights Struggle - and a Jewish Imperative
As Jews our responsibility is to embrace the gender identity of each individual not only in our communities but in society at large. That means repealing transphobic legislation like North Carolina's HB2.
Rabbi Jesse Olitzky
May 22, 2016

North Carolina's controversial "Bathroom Law", which stipulates that in government buildings, individuals may only use the restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates, continues to make headlines. Proponents of the law, known officially as HB2 "The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act," claim that it is about safety, preventing men from "claiming to be transgender" just so that they can enter a women's bathroom and invade their privacy. But over 200 local, state, and national organizations that work with assault victims claim that there is nothing to support the fears of these lawmakers. And none of the 18 states that have nondiscrimination laws that protect transgender rights has seen an increase in public safety issues because of these laws.

The fight over the law hit a tipping point when the Department of Justice determined that HB2 violates the Federal Civil Rights Act and gave North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory an ultimatum to ensure that the state would not comply with the law. North Carolina didn't budge, and instead sued the government. The Justice Department responded with a lawsuit of their own, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch describing the battle over this law as the civil rights struggle of this era.

But the fight over HB2 is more than a civil rights struggle; it's a human rights struggle. And as Jews, we have a particular imperative to treat it as such. 
Lots of times we paint all religions as being anti-LGBT but many more religions support us than hate us. It is that vocal minority that gets all the press. It is that woman walking through Target shouting Bible verses and derogatory words about us gets all the publicity while those who preach inclusion and acceptance do not get any press.

At a Transgender Day of Remembrance once a rabbi brought a stained glass window pane and she told a story about Kristallnacht or the "Night of Broken Glass" she said that it wasn’t only the Jews the Nazi came after but also trans people, gays and lesbians, gypsies, and people with disabilities. That we share that common heritage.

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