The Reform Judaism movement in America voted on Thursday to pass a controversial new resolution outlining a number of steps catering to transgender people.
Homosexuality is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law), but the Reform movement does not operate according to Jewish law, a position that was made all the more blatant in Thursday's vote held by the Union for Reform Judaism at its conference in Orlando, Florida. No less than 1.5 million Jews in North America are affiliated with the Union.
The resolution institutes some of the most extensive policies catering to transgender people according to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists, reports Reuters.
Starting off the bevy of steps in the resolution is a call for Reform congregations to offer "cultural training" for religious school staff, as well as sermons on transgender issues, and even "gender-neutral" restrooms.
The new resolution also requires congregations to consider all candidates for rabbinical posts regardless of "gender identity." Included in the resolution is also a call for public policy in the US to be changed to ease the process of updating passports, voter registration and birth certificates for transgender peoples.
Likewise it calls for an ease in their being "identified with pronouns," in an attempt to change the English language and have such persons referred to as "they" instead of "he" or "she," and to allow them to enter whichever public restroom they choose based on their "gender identity."
The Reform movement's new policy is even more extreme than that of the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ in that it lists specific actions for inclusion of transgenders, according to Michael Toumayan of the Human Rights Campaign.
"It’s a big deal, but at the same time it’s not controversial for them at all," Toumayan said.
This is said to be the Reform movement's first policy resolution on transgender people, although the movement has long been openly supportive of sex-change operations and homosexuality despite Jewish law.
Back in 2003 the movement admitted its first openly transgender person to its rabbinical school.