Tag Archives: spirituality

Registration now open for Third Annual TransOhio Transgender and Ally Symposium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Shane Morgan
TransOhio
(614) 441-8167
TransOhio@gmail.com
www.transohio.org

Registration now open for Third Annual TransOhio Transgender and Ally Symposium

Columbus, Ohio — May 22, 2010 — The 3rd Annual TransOhio Transgender and Ally Symposium, which will be held on the campus of Ohio State University from August 13-15, 2010, will feature over 70 workshops and seminars by local and nationally recognized presenters. Registration for this year’s Transgender and Ally Symposium is now open.

TransOhio, Ohio’s only statewide Transgender advocacy and community organization, has expanded this conference, which originally consisted of a single day just three years ago, to three full days of workshops, seminars and social events, including a day that is specifically set aside for medical, social service and legal providers. “This is the first year we will be hosting a Provider’s Day at our Symposium. We’re going to be able to offer continuing education units (CEUs) as we’ve partnered with The Ohio State University’s College of Social Work. Additionally, the GLBT Alumni Society – Scarlet & Gay and The Longaberger Alumni House have also been key partners in making this day come together,” said Shane Morgan, Founder and Chair of TransOhio. The General Symposium sessions, held both Saturday and Sunday, will occur onsite at the Ohio State University Multicultural Center at the Ohio Union.

“Recently, we’ve seen several established as well as new medical and legal providers stepping up to learn about the Transgender community and their needs and the issues that are specific to the community. Part of TransOhio’s mission is to provide opportunities to continue to develop qualified professionals that the Transgender community can seek out for services,” according to TransOhio Board Member Jacob Nash.  “People need to know that they have options and need to be able to select a professional who best fits an individual’s needs and works for them.”

Presentations, workshops and seminars will cover topics such as Health & Safety, Partners, Spouses & Family, Sex & Sexuality, Legal Issues & Employment, Religion and Spirituality, Education & Advocacy and Culture, Media and Arts.  Friday night events include a Meet & Greet and the Fabulously Fluid! gender-bending performance showcase. Saturday evening, TransOhio will host a special performance of local performer Sile P. Singleton’s – PAINT! A Transformative Project at the Columbus Performing Arts Center’s Shedd Theatre in Columbus.  PAINT! is set against the backdrop of a socially constructed notion that communities of color are “more homophobic than white communities,” Singleton, chases the metaphor of the rainbow from her earliest childhood memories in the church to today’s rainbow clad “twirly” boys and “dykes on bikes.” Singleton guides the audience through the very personal journey of an American Black Midwest Queer Trans-person and her quest for the symbol of hope and ‘everlasting inclusion.’

For more information about TransOhio or the 3rd Annual TransOhio Transgender and Ally Symposium, visit www.transohio.org or transohio2010.wordpress.com to register.

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December 2009 TransOhio Newsletter Now Available!

Tuesday, December 2, 2009

Hello TransOhio Family, Friends and Supporters!

The December 2009 issue of the TransOhio newsletter is now available!

You can download the newsletter at: http://www.transohio.org/news/TransOhioDecember2009.pdf.

Our TG support group meeting will be held tonight Wednesday, December 2nd at 7pm at The Center on High, and our monthly general meeting on Sunday, December 20, 3pm.

The next TransOhio Partners’ Discussion Group will be held on Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 2pm in Columbus at The Center on High (1160 N. High Street, Columbus, 43201).

There are tons of events & activities happening in December, so, make sure you take a look at the calendar and the other events noted throughout the newsletter!

Make an end-of-the-year TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation to TransOhio!

  • Did you know that your donations to TransOhio are tax-deductible?
    It’s true, they are!
  • Did you know that TransOhio is an all-volunteer board?
    It’s true, we don’t get paid!
  • Did you know that your tax-deductible donations to TransOhio assist us in providing programs, outreach & educational programs and events FREE to the Ohio transgender community?It’s true! Every dollar you donate to TransOhio makes a difference.

    It’s true, really. Every dollar counts!

To make your tax-deductible donation to TransOhio, visit http://www.transohio.org/donate.html

Upcoming events: 

  • Christmas day dinner and movie w/ TransOhio. Visit www.transohio.org for details.
  • The Crystal Club Holiday dinner   
  • New Year’s Day dinner and movie w/ TransOhio. Visit www.transohio.org for details. (All are welcome!)
  • December Holiday Activities (Whiteout Party at The Center on High, Sat. Dec. 5, 6pm-10pm)
  • and more!

Take care everybody! Be safe during the holiday season.
Best wishes from the TransOhio family, to all of you!
TransOhio Board
Shane, Karen, Tara and Milo

TransOhio November 2009 Newsletter Now Available!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hello TransOhio Family, Friends and Supporters!

The November 2009 issue of the TransOhio newsletter is now available! You can download the newsletter at: http://www.transohio.org/news/November2009.pdf.

Our TG support group meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 4th at 7pm at The Center on High, and our monthly general meeting on Sunday, November 15th, 3pm.

The next TransOhio Partners Discussion Group will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 2pm in Columbus at The Center on High (1160 N. High Street, Columbus, 43201).

There are tons of events & activities happening in November, so, make sure you take a look at the calendar and the other events noted throughout the newsletter! 

ENDA UPDATE!
We need YOU to help us pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). It is of the utmost importance that you call your Representative and Senators to ask them to take swift action to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Action needs to take place today, tomorrow, the day after and so on. Please take action today. All it takes is 2 minuted of your time to make 2 highly important calls! 120 seconds, that’s all!
See front page of newsletter for more information on how YOU can help!

Make an end-of-the-year TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation to TransOhio!

  • Did you know that your donations to TransOhio are tax-deductible?
         It’s true, they are!   
  • Did you know that TransOhio is an all-volunteer board?
         It’s true, we don’t get paid!  
  • Did you know that your tax-deductible donations to TransOhio assist us in providing programs, outreach & educational programs and events FREE to the Ohio transgender community?
         It’s true!

Every dollar you donate to TransOhio makes a difference. It’s true, really. Every dollar counts!

To make your tax-deductible donation to TransOhio, visit  http://transohio.org/donate.html

Upcoming events:

  • Call Me Malcolm film & panel tour
  • Local performances & lectures
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance, Columbus, Thursday, November 19th, 2009
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance, Cleveland & Cincinnati, Friday, November 20, 2009
  • 3rd Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Thursday, November 26th – All are welcome!
  • December Holiday Activities
  • and more!

Take care everybody!

TransOhio Board
Shane, Karen, Tara and Milo

Dying Real: Honoring Queer Relationships and the Gender Variant Body at the End of Life

In the Oscar-winning movie “Departures,” Yojiro Takita shows traditional Japanese customs for preparing bodies for casketing prior to cremation. The art is beautiful, precise and utterly respectful of the deceased. From the very first scene, however, the movie-going audience’s expectations of the “traditional” are ruffled. First, the film shows a contemporary Japanese society in which rather than family members, professionals hired by the funeral parlor prepare the body. Second, the lovely young woman being prepared for burial is revealed to have elements of male anatomy.

ILLUSTRATION MARY ANN ZAPALAC

After a discreet moment of surprise, the “casketers” offer the family a choice: Which way shall we make up the deceased, as a man or as a woman? The family honors the life of the deceased by choosing to prepare her as a woman. After the service, the father bows before the casketers in gratitude for restoring the memory of his child’s smile, lost during many years of family estrangement. Restoration of the smile allowed the father to recognize that happiness was found through her life’s choices.

Traditional Jewish tahara (ritual preparation of a body for burial) does not offer a gender choice; the sex of a body is determined by the appearance of the genitals, and gender is assumed to map directly to sex. Men prepare males for burial; women prepare females. While tachrichim (shrouds) are simple garments, there are minor gender differences. Male bodies are buried in shrouds designed for men. If the scenario from “Departures” had taken place in a Jewish funeral home, with a Jewish woman revealed in death to have male genitals, tradition dictates that the woman would be prepared by men and dressed in a male shroud.

If a person who lived a female life is buried as a man, no one will see, since only the burial society and the next of kin see the body from the time of death until the time of interment. Nevertheless, tradition seems to point in the wrong direction: Disavowing a female role dishonors the life of the deceased. The highest ethic of the burial society is kavod ha-meit/meitah (honor the male or female deceased), but in the scenario I have proposed, tradition would trump honor.

Death may come suddenly. What if a person has no time to set the expectations of the community for the unique requirements of a body? Can a family that rejected a person’s choices during life dictate the burial and funeral rituals undertaken at the time of death? Since in many states, sex-changed partners are allowed to marry heterosexually, it is also possible that the legal wife of a transsexual man might lose any right to communally mourn a lifelong partnership once the deceased is revealed to be transgender. What if a religious family undertook the burial of a not-so-religious child? Whose wishes take priority?

One of the goals possible for a transgender life is to be viewed as “real” — to be seen as a “real boy,” like Pinocchio. What will it take for transgender individuals to die real — recognized as the gender they lived?

Tradition can be kinder than it appears. Burial societies operate with a surprising amount of autonomy. While rabbinic authorities are often consulted to guide the tahara team onsite during difficult decisions, the rabbi most intimate with the family is often engaged with the surviving family members. Because of a history of condemnation rooted in the biblical prohibitions against cross-dressing and inducing sterility, the rabbi will likely not be privy to the gender status of the deceased. So when the time arrives for a decision about how to handle such a body, the team must make its own decision, while holding fast to the ethic of kavod ha meit. Given the autonomy of the burial society and the ethic of kavod ha meit, it is unlikely that a person who lives an entire life in a gender other than the one he or she was assigned at birth will have the accomplishments of that life dishonored at death. While the official position of tradition suggests intolerance, local custom and the relative autonomy of the burial society can provide opportunities for humane, appropriate treatment of gender-variant bodies.

Earlier this year, at Kavod v’Nichum (Hebrew for “honor and comfort”), the annual conference for burial societies, I met Lynn Greenhough, one of the organization’s founding members and the wife of a transgender man. Greenhough has a dozen years of experience as a member of a burial society; she’s seen many faces of death, and she has seen the principle of kavod ha-meit operating in many challenging situations. Greenhough assured me that while each Hevra Kadisha (“burial society”) operates according to tradition and is guided by a community’s customs, all bodies are treated with respect. Even so, education, living wills and other legal documentation help prepare members of burial societies for unique bodies. For burial societies, education about transgender bodies might have ramifications for the living as well as for the deceased: Education about compassion for human differences at the end of life might help transgender Jews be more accepted during their lives.

Gay Grief

On August 1, two Israelis were shot and killed at a drop-in center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. The press carried stories about the Tel Aviv center being a safe space for teenagers who had not yet found the spiritual strength to disclose their G,L,B or T identity to their parents.

Memorial services were held for Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trubeshi, 16, in communities across the globe, but I found myself wondering about Liz’s funeral. About Nir’s. Were their bodies reverenced as other Jewish children’s bodies would have been? I thought about the grief of family members, but I also wondered if either one of the deceased had friends who were excluded. I wondered if the identities of the deceased were commemorated at their funerals — in Nir’s case, as a gay man who counseled others in the coming-out process, and in Liz’s, as an ally to the GLBT community, with many queer friends. I read with sorrow the report stating that after hearing where the attack had taken place, the parents of one young man would not visit him at the hospital where he lay injured.

As members of GLBT communities live Jewish lives across the spectrum of Jewish practice, we build compassion by focusing on similarities between our lives and the lives of other Jews. We, too, get married and raise children and work at our jobs. Throughout our lives, we support our communities. We age; our spouses die. We grieve.

Here is where the similarities end. While all deaths and family mourning are unique, transgender bodies and gay grieving tell a more complicated story, a story that cannot be covered over by efforts to assimilate our lives in heterosexual, gender-normative communities. While normative expectations may paper over some differences during our lifetime, our death and our mourning sing of our differences. Let that song not be solely a lamentation, but a Kaddish exulting in the diversity of lives our God created.

Noach Dzmura edited “Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community”(North Atlantic Books), now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Article can be found at: http://www.forward.com/articles/117279/

‘Torah Queeries’explores Judaism, LGBT identities

Southern Voice, GA, USA

‘Torah Queeries’explores Judaism, LGBT identities

Essays seek new approach to discussing sexuality, spirituality

Oct 02, 2009  |  By: LAURA DOUGLAS-BROWN
Rabbi Joshua Lesser, leader of Atlanta’s GAY-founded Congregation Bet
Haverim, believes it is time for LGBT people to move beyond simply
defending their identities from biblically based attacks. As one of
three editors of “Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew
Bible,” he hopes to push such discussions to a new, more complex
level.

Most previous books about sexuality and spirituality “are about
defending homosexuality, while most of our essays are more about what
does this text say to LGBT people,” Lesser says.

Lesser reads from “Torah Queeries” Oct. 8 at Charis Books & More.

The collection follows the Hebrew tradition of reading the Torah in
weekly segments through a calendar cycle, and the essays it includes
offer a variety of interpretations and meditations that should
interest not only LGBT Jews, but also all people who are interested in
faith, social justice, or LGBT issues.

“I hope it is the beginning of a second generation of these kinds of
works,” Lesser says. “I have always thought that books that defend
homosexuality and transgender identities are agreeing to be on the
religious right’s playing field and address this question of
legitimacy.

“I think it is time to assume that legitimacy and speak from that place.”

Lesser edits the book, published by NYU Press, with Gregg Drinkwater
and David Shneer, life partners who work with Jewish Mosaic, the
Jewish Center for Sexuality & Gender Identity. Proceeds from sales
will benefit Jewish Mosaic and the Rainbow Center, an Atlanta resource
for LGBT Jews.

Two of Lesser’s essays are included in “Torah Queeries.” He describes
one, an exploration of the story of Abraham and Sarah, as a “very
tame” look at how the couple formed their family, and the meaning that
holds for LGBT families.

“We are all cursed by this ideal of a Jewish family that is not even
represented by our primary matriarch and patriarch, so why have we
taken that on?”

Lesser’s second, riskier piece is titled “Fear Factor: Lesbian Sex and
Gay Men,” which he describes as an “opportunity to talk about how
there is a segment of gay male culture that demeans women’s bodies.”

MORE INFO

Rabbi Joshua Lesser with ‘Torah Queeries’
Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Charis Books & More
1189 Euclid Ave.
www.chariscircle.org

http://www.sovo.com/2009/10-2/arts/events/10694.cfm