Trans Spirituality – Winter Holiday Special

Trans Spirituality – Winter Holiday Special

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Well, it’s that time of year again. The winter holiday season. Hanukkah started on December 7 this year. The new moon is December 12, and of course the solstice is December 21. Christmas, for those who observe it is December 25 and Kwanza begins December 26. We won’t have a solar/lunar darkness as we did a couple years ago, but it is still a very dark time of year.

Trans people always struggle this time of year, for a number of reasons. For many of the community, it’s the grief over loss of your birth family, loneliness, cold, hunger etc. For others, it’s the normal, daily struggles. And to make matters worse, we have learned that the Trans Lifeline hotline will be shut down over the holidays this year.

If you are in a crisis, the PFLAG hotline web page has a list of verified support lines that you can reach out to. It is available at Many have noted that it is inadvisable to contact the national hotline, because they DO report to the local police agencies, and if you’re a trans person in crisis, you may not want the police banging on your door. Even if the cops mean well, chances are they are not trained on how to deal with trans people in crisis, and the interaction will go badly.

Further, the war in Israel/Palestine is continuing unabated. This has been a huge bone of contention for me, because many queer/trans orgs have inserted themselves into the war and taken the side of Hamas. As a trans Jew, that leaves me feeling abandoned and hurt. I know that the Israeli GOVERNMENT has done horrible things, but their taking sides ignores the Israeli PEOPLE who are also suffering. Despite some claims to the contrary, Palestine is not really safe for queer/trans people, nor is any other Arab state. Israel is far from perfect, but at least in areas of Israel, queer and trans people can live openly and safely. Where else in the Middle East can we say that?

With all that is going on right now, it’s very easy to lose hope. So please, try to have some things to focus on during this season. I hope you all have your chosen families that you can connect with. And I hope you all have positive activities that you can be engaged with – even if that is just working to stay warm and get some food to eat, during the cold winter months.

I know that I have a life of privilege, but I’ve paid a steep price to get here as well, like many trans veterans I know who are suffering unmanaged pain and psychological damage. So, we have to remember that we have each other as a community.

In Judaism we have the saying “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh l’zeh” – all Jews are responsible for each other. I believe that is true in the trans community as well. We need to hold each other up to the greatest extent we can. Because of the state of my disabilities, my work is rather limited now, but if you are able to volunteer for a hotline, or work in a shelter helping hand out food, or whatever, please consider doing so.

In Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5, our rabbis taught that if you save a live, it is as if you have saved the entire world. Earlier in that same Mishna, when talking about the uniqueness of creation of humanity, the rabbis say that each person should look at the Creation of the world as if it was done for them uniquely. We each have a very special role in the world, even if we do not know what that role is. We may never explicitly know what that role is. Our tradition also teaches that you never know that beggar you helped by feeding could be Elijah the Prophet, bringing in the Messianic era. So PLEASE, do not hesitate to do that good work. You’ll feel better for having done it, and who knows?

I pray that we can all find ways to enjoy our holiday seasons to some extent this year, despite all the darkness that surrounds us.

Peace, Rona

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


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