Transgendering Judaism

For some years, counterculture figure Genesis P-Orridge has been going through a self-transformation into hermaphroditism. Making the argument that God is ultimately neither male nor female, but both male and female — as was our original state in Gan Eden before being separated into man and woman — in order to emulate God in the truest capacity, one should break away from ideas of sex and gender and become, essentially, post-gendered. He calls this philosophy “pandrogeny.”
While this idea has yet to take hold in any real capacity in the Jewish world (despite myths of Rebbe Nachman roaming about Breslov at night in women’s clothing in order to commune with the shekhina), the place of the transgendered and “sexually ambiguous” in the Jewish community is a growing issue, as is highlighted in the latest Tikkun:

As transgender visibility increases across Western culture as a whole, gender-transforming Jews have started to carve out a space for themselves in Jewish society. They’ve stared down gender preconceptions, paranoia, and misunderstandings. But in many cases, they’ve also found that transitioning has enriched their relationship with Judaism, and vice versa.
Trans Jews also have created their own communities on the Internet and elsewhere. These include a “TransJews” email group on Yahoo, a community on Livejournal.com, and an acclaimed zine called TimTum: A Trans-Jew Zine, written by tranny anti-Occupation activist Micah Bazant, who also wrote the Trans Manifesto, a well-circulated on-line call for the recognition of equal rights for the transgendered.

Likewise, this past weekend’s Haaretz Magazine recounts the rather perplexing tale of a Christian man cum Rastaman cum Hasid cum woman, now struggling to maintain her relationship to her community:

The ultra-Orthodox woman who sat across from me didn’t seem at all at a loss for words. In a measured and patient tone, she explained how she had gone from being the son of a Christian socialist family in England, to being a Rastafarian reggae musician and then an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and finally, from being a man to a woman, without abandoning her deep religious faith. She also attributed her ardent political support for Gush Katif’s “orange” settlers’ camp to profound religious conviction. There was just one question that brought her up short: How would she introduce herself to her little daughter, who lives in Israel, whom she has not seen for the past three years? As “Mother”? As “Father”? And what would she say to her?

Full story.

5 thoughts on “Transgendering Judaism

  1. huge breaking story: cross gendered gnute discovered in borneo, leading rabbis call emergency meeting to see if belief in messiah is rendered null by the gnute

  2. Yes, Tikkun That bastion of Jewish traditionalism has Springer heard of he/she? he might want he/she on the show

  3. I wonder if the technology is really there to make transgendering real.
    Genesis maintains that it is, but he’s in constant aching pain from the implants. Now THAT’s mesiras nefesh!
    Doesn’t it hurt, I got to ask him once?
    Of course it hurts.
    It’s not really transformation if it doesn’t hurt.

  4. I’m glad you liked my Tikkun article. That’s very weird about Genesis P. Orridge, although I wouldn’t confuse that kind of wackiness with the way most transgender people live. In answer to one of your commenters, yes the technology exists to make transgenderism real. And no, it doesn’t hurt. Unless you ask it nicely to.

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