“… let me remind you: bigotry against minority groups based on sexual orientation or gender identity, such as the trans community, is a way fascism takes root.”
~ by Robert Reich, The Guardian 4/30/23
Hirschfeld would have been delighted by the progress
As a pioneer in Weimar Berlin, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld explored the limits of what he then referred to as transsexuality. His work documented substantial progress in the identification of diversity of behaviors among Trans people. His efforts to enhance Trans’ social acceptability were commendable and well-accepted. His Institut fuer Sexual Wissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Research) succeeded in initiating viable sex-change strategies and offered a range of comprehensive educational and therapeutic services to their patients. This enlightened approach to a taboo topic made historic progress in 1920s Berlin. Nazi exclusionary edicts abruptly terminated it, with tragic conclusion.
Continue reading Reliving Transgender History Part II – by Rafaela Amrita Crevoshay
Berlin of the early 20th century
lives in our hearts
If modern ultra-conservatives and “Christian” extremists consider their anti- Trans rhetoric to be a novel solution to their feverish longing for an America that once was, they ought to consult modern history.
Their play book has been lifted from the authentic Nazi script, circa 1933.
Early 20th century Berlin became known for its pioneering social enlightenment. It was a global magnet for artistic innovation and intellectual ferment. It also gained a reputation for hedonism, nightlife, and unprecedented sexual freedom. This was the liberated cultural context in which the Institute for Sexual Science (Institut für Sexualwissenschaft) blossomed.
Continue reading Reliving Transgender History- by Rafaela Amrita Crevoshay
As my 65th birthday approached my transgender personality had become desperate and demanded attention. Decades of self-deception did not bury my feminine self. She had in fact grown, despite isolation, neglect, and denial. I discovered a private dressing room, a place to give her a chance to breathe. I sought the aid of a therapist. Though I believed that I already had the answer, I asked whether I was, in her professional opinion, truly a transgender person. A dozen sessions later she affirmed my suspicion. Indeed I was transgender.
For decades my family had attended an orthodox synagogue. It was an exercise in cognitive dissonance for my hidden identity. Leviticus was at best conflicted about gender. I saw no possibility for reconciliation for Transgender vs. Judaism. Shortly after my therapist confirmed my identity, I heard breaking transgender news that stole my attention.
Continue reading Transgender Jews: Intersectional Study Part 2 – by R. A. Crevoshay
At the tender age of 70, I have come out to the world as a transgender woman. Plagued by intractable anxiety and preoccupied with all things feminine I was surprised by the inescapable intersectionality conferred upon me involuntarily – that not only am I transgender, but I am a transgender Jew.
Judaism always seemed the right fit for me. Its implicit refutation of our dominant theology appealed to me. Personified by modern folk heroes like Einstein, Dylan (Zimmerman), and Koufax, it seduced me with inspiration. With teleological certitude Jewish Messianism offers the promise of a just revolution in our time and a profound endorsement of the counter-cultural impulse. It encouraged our rage against Nazis. It made us as one with all of America’s rejected minorities from the original Native Americans to the most recently-arrived Syrian refugees.
I embrace this rare classification with enthusiasm. I’ve discovered that transgender Jewry features an elite element that could not possibly include me. Or could it?
Continue reading Transgender Jews: An Intersectional Study Part 1 – by R. A. Crevoshay