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Gender Identity and Expression Initiative

Our earliest large scale justice initiative, which started in 2017, focused on gender identity and expression, particularly for transgender and nonbinary youth and adults.  We held several programs, reviewed and revised all of our TAS documents and webpages and distributed Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of An American family, by Amy Ellis Nutt, to all the schools in Fair Lawn, River Edge, Paramus, and Oradell. 

This page contains many articles and resources that were part of our initiative.  Although the information has not been updated since 2020, much of the information is still timely and informative.  Please enjoy!

      - Gender Identity and Expression 
     - LGBTQ Awareness

Additional Resources:

  • Birth Certificates - Effective February 1, 2019, NJ Birth Certificates will allow "Male, Female and Undesignated/Nonbinary" and people will be allowed to amend their existing birth certificates to reflect their gender identity. Click here to read the article.  
  • Transgender Youth at Risk -  

    Right to transition in Jail- a transgender veteran’s story is an exploration of medical ethics and the criminal justice system. 

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which was conducted in 10 states. The Study found  that while nearly 2% of U.S. high school students identify as transgender, 35% attempted suicide.   It also found that 27% of the students who identified as transgender felt unsafe at school or traveling to and from campus, and 35% said they were bullied.  In a recent article in The Washington Post,  Amit Paley, chief executive and executive director of the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth, called the report “groundbreaking” and told The Washington Post that the Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era rules aimed at protecting members of the LGBTQ community in areas such as health and education. In 2017, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos revoked guidelines that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Our first event was a Shabbat Lunch N’Learn on February 3, 2018, where 35 of us discussed Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt, led by Laurie Rochlin and Nilene Evans, and our responsibility to treat all people with respect.   If you want to learn more about Nicole, watch her Ted Talk on Youtube.  Here are the handouts from the event - discussion questionsFAQs about Transgender PeopleSupporting Transgender People - Being an Ally, and The Gender Unicorn.  We also watched a brief video on What not to Say to a Transgender Person

The lives of Transgender Children remain at risk

"THE ORTHODOX RABBI WHO WORKS AT AN LGBT SYNAGOGUE" (Click here to see this article in the Jewish standard)

Here is a link to a Modern Love story that should make us all think about what gender really is: 

It's a Theyby - Here is a link to a provocative article about raising a baby without a gender identity.

Seeing the person not the gender...
His Dating Profile Listed Reasons Not to Date Him She Was Intrigued. “Love is finding the person who understands you more intimately than you ever thought possible.” NY Times Article July 27, 2018

  • LGBTQ & ALLY TEEN SHABBATON GATHERINGS - Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life, sponsors these Shabbatonim as well as trips to Israel for LGBTQ & Ally Teens. For information, see 
  • The NJ Senate and NJ Assembly passed joint resolutions  that would designate Nov. 14-20 of each year as Transgender Awareness Week and Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance. The week would be used to “increase awareness and understanding of the prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender persons face,” according to the legislation. Nov. 20 would honor the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. 
  • Walking a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes - Please see the op ed piece from the December 15, 2017 NY Times.
  • What is in a pronoun?  Read this recent op-ed from Jennifer Finney Boylan in The New York Times. I use whatever pronoun my students choose for themselves, simply out of respect for them.
  • Resources from our work with Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life.
Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784