Reform Judaism Just Became the Country's Most Trans-Inclusive Religious Group

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The Reform Movement is the largest branch of Judaism in the United States—accounting for more than one-third of roughly six million American Jews—and it has long been at the forefront of societal progress. In 1977, the Union of Reform Judaism adopted a resolution calling for the end of discrimination against gays and lesbians, with support of bisexual and transgender people being formally added to the language of the text in 2003. In 1996, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (the movement's central body) announced its support for civil same-sex marriages, expanding that to full religious ceremonies in 2000. Today, at its biennial conference in Florida, the most transgender-inclusive resolution of any American religious organization was adopted without any opposition.

The resolution, which includes nine points, opens with a preamble explaining that, far from straying from Jewish values, this move is a continuation and furtherance of them:

"Throughout the Reform Movement's history, we have worked tirelessly to fight discrimination, support equality, and strengthen the rights of minorities and women."

"Efforts within the Reform Movement over the past decade reflect our commitment to greater inclusivity of transgender and gender non-conforming people."

Among the various recommendations, all affiliated synagogues and organizations are called upon to provide gender-neutral restrooms and "review their use of language in prayers, forms and policies in an effort to ensure people of all gender identities and gender expressions are welcomed, included, accepted and respected." Furthermore, rabbis are encouraged to deliver sermons on gender identity and gender expression as a means of educating congregants, and all members are asked to advocate on behalf of transgender and gender nonconforming people. 

While the resolution is not formally binding, the enthusiasm with which it was adopted should signify that there will be little resistance among the country's 1.5 million Reform Jews. 

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