Atlanta-based educator, activist and writer Robbie Medwed reminds us that according to Judaism, when someone’s life is on the line, we must do everything in our power to keep them safe.
It’s been a bad week for transgender people. The Departments of Education and Justice sent a letter to schools across America withdrawing the guidance offered by the Obama administration designed to keep transgender children safe at school.
The guidance was, at its essence, a clarification of the existing protections afforded under Title IX. It laid out “best practices” for keeping transgender children safe, including allowing them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their true gender. While the actions of the Trump administration don’t change the existing law, they do add a level of chaos and confusion and lead many to believe they are no longer required to keep transgender children safe.
There are some details that have been missing from the conversation that are incredibly important to remember. According to the Williams Institute, 41% of all transgender people have attempted suicide due to lack of societal acceptance. I want to be clear about that: nearly 1 in 2 transgender people have attempted to take their own life. Not because they are transgender, but because they are not accepted in their families, schools, houses of worship, and in society as who they are.
There is no situation in Judaism where this is acceptable. In fact, Judaism is quite clear: when someone’s life is on the line, we must do everything in our power to keep them safe.