Hard Times for Trans People

Hard Times for Trans People

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August 17 and 18 mark the beginning of the Jewish month of Elul and the beginning of the Penitential season for Jews around the world. So, it is with a sense of sadness and irony in a way that I am writing this column today.

In last month’s column, I talked about oppression of trans people at the hands of Christian leadership. A reader chose to take everything I said out of context and accused me of painting EVERY Christian and Catholic, past and present as anti semitic and transphobic. I was absolutely shocked and horrified that a trans person could accuse me of such a stand.

While I do not footnote everything I write in this column, with the exception of direct quotes, everything that I say is backed up with years of academic research. Much of this research is directly available on my personal websites at www.rabbahrona.us and www.ronamatlow.com. Had this reader chosen to look at my research, they would have perhaps had a better understanding of what I was saying. It is clear to me that they need to do some deep personal introspection, which is the order of the day during the Jewish month of Elul.

Clearly, I had no intent to cause harm in my words. I was simply stating historical facts. Angela Gardner, the editor of this site, was behind me 100% in what I wrote.

The fact is that I now don’t feel as safe or comfortable writing this column as I did previously. I have been, for the years I’ve been contributing to this column, writing hard hitting commentary on things that impact the trans community, while tying it to the religious realm. The sad thing is that the biggest threat to the trans community comes from religious leaders who corrupt their religious values AND the values of the Constitution of the United States.

At this point, I seriously need to consider if the stress of attacks like this is worth it to me. For the time being, I will continue to write for the column. It would be helpful to hear from readers to know what you are thinking about what I have to say. In the past I’ve had very little feedback, so I’ve just kept on with what I’m doing. However, if what I’m saying isn’t what readers want to hear, please do let me know. Or, if you love what I’m saying, please let me know that too.  We can all use more positive affirmations in our lives.

It is very clear to me that the threat against trans people will not subside any time soon. Keshet LGBTQ, the largest Jewish queer organization in the U.S. just sent out a call for people to sign off on letters to their elected officials, right before I wrote this column, because of this threat. The GOP is ever increasing their pressure, the ethics of the Supreme Court are dirtier than ever, and Ron DeSantis is pushing his presidential campaign, all while President Biden remains unviable for reelection.

I have never felt more scared to be living in the U.S. than I do today. But sadly, I don’t see any viable alternatives either. The British have their own problems with transphobia (the gender crits) and it is extremely expensive to emigrate to the U.K., even though I could conceivably because my wife was born there. Israel is a flaming wreck because of Netanyahu and the Rabbanut. You must have a viable job to emigrate to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., and I am unemployable. I’m an elder, disabled non-binary trans Jewish woman, and like all of us in the trans community, I have to just ride it out.  My privilege of being white passing and having some money will only carry me so far. In Germany, Jews with money didn’t fare any better than those who were poor. 

Nor will the fact that I’m a highly decorated military officer. Many trans people are highly decorated military veterans, but the transphobes in the GOP don’t care about that even though they claim to love the military. All they see is trans and everything else is blurred out.

My only saving grace is that I’m older. I’ve lived a lot of years, and so maybe they’ll ignore me, except that I live on Federal benefits.  When they start cutting those – who knows?

As I’ve said before, we need those who can, to get out the vote and change this country for the better before it’s too late.

Peace, Rona

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Category: Transgender Opinion


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