WHEN DO YOU TAKE A STAND?

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1 WHEN DO YOU TAKE A STAND? A HANUKAH CONVERSATION GUIDE FOR FACILITATORS Note for Facilitators: This document is designed to be the centering point for a group conversation. You should plan for the conversation to last between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on group size. Most parts are meant to be read by members of the group, so you should plan to ask participants to take turns reading sections. Alternatively, you can choose the first reader of a section, and then that reader chooses the next reader. Additional guidelines and suggestions for planning and leading a successful conversation can be found at the end of this guide. There is also an appendix with definitions and background on Transgender Day of Remembrance. 1. WELCOME Getting Started Before we begin, we need to agree on a few things: In order for our conversation to be as rich as it can be, we need everyone to feel safe to really share and really listen. Therefore, what is said in this conversation stays in this conversation, and may not be repeated outside it. Our aim is to create a space where we can understand others and understand ourselves, not to give advice or to argue ideas of objective truth. With that in mind, in this conversation we will agree to speak in the first-person, about our own truth. We will assume good faith in one another. We will open ourselves to listen and learn from one another. We won t rush to fill the silence. Can we all agree to these things? If you feel, for whatever reason, that you cannot agree to these things, then please take this opportunity to exit. By staying in the circle, we all signify our intention to abide by these commitments.

2 2. ASK AND SHARE Let s begin by looking at some images. Below are a bunch of pictures. Each one can prompt you to think about taking a stand: What does the picture tell you about taking a stand? Which images speak to you? Which images challenge you? Take a few moments to look at the pictures, and then we ll share our responses. You can use the space below the pictures to write some notes to yourself.

3 Note for Facilitators: Give people a moment to organize their thoughts before you start asking for volunteers. It may be helpful to model this introduction for participants, so consider introducing yourself first. Be sure everyone states their name. You don t need to go in order around a circle. Allow people to introduce themselves when the spirit moves them. If you have a large group, this could be a good time to break into partners for sharing out. 3. LEARN The Hanukah Story Some History In the 2 nd Century, B.C.E., the land of Judea was under the rule of the Seleucid Empire. The king Antiochus III allowed the Jews who lived there to maintain the customs of their ancestors. When his son, Antiochus IV, came into power, however, he outlawed practice of the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. Some Jews went along with this edict, while others refused. In 168 B.C.E., his soldiers came to Jerusalem, massacred thousands of people, and looted and desecrated the Temple the most sacred space in Judaism by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its holy walls. A complex war erupted, involving the rebel Jews warring both the Seleucid army and, to some degree, the Hellenizing Jews. The Maccabees the small, bandit guerilla army of traditionalists were, against all odds, victorious, and the Temple was reclaimed and its altar rededicated. The festival of Hanukah was instituted to celebrate this rededication. According to a story found in the Talmud (the principal body of Jewish civil and ritual law and legend, which dates to about 500 CE), the menorah in the Temple required a certain amount of ritually pure olive oil in order to burn. Although, as the Talmudic story goes, there was only one day s worth of oil left in the Temple, it burned for eight days, long enough to prepare a fresh supply. The author and playwright S. Bear Bergman writes about Hanukah and the holiday of Transgender Day of Remembrance which takes place every year on November 20 th in the following essay, Gathering Light Out of Darkness, from his book Blood, Marriage, Wine and Glitter. A video clip of Bergman reading his piece will be available online at sbearbergman.com/abq from October 15, January 1 st, Some definitions and more information about Transgender Day of Remembrance can be found in the Appendix at the end of this conversation guide.

4 Transgender Day of Remembrance [is] the day we gather to remember our dead those trans people, mostly transwomen, mostly women of colour who have been murdered in the previous year for the grave and terrible crime of being transsexual, or transgender. The first vigil came two weeks after Rita Hester was murdered in Boston. Hundreds of people poured into the streets in outrage when the details were released she had been stabbed more than twenty times, and left for dead. A robbery gone bad. Probably, the police said, the work of a john. Rita never having been a sex worker made as much difference to their conclusions as the fact that anything she was known to have to steal was still in her apartment, covered in her blood. Her people lit candles and they marched. They walked down the Allston, Massachusetts street from the bar where she was last seen alive to her apartment and they stood in a bright cluster under what had been her window, first chanting and then singing. Their display was unmistakable, their sorrow as huge as their resistance here we are, they chanted, here we are. Here we are, Rita, come to soothe your restless ghost and pray you home to wherever your G-d is, so you can sit at her right hand and rest yourself a while. Here we are, you attackers, you cowards, come now and bring your knives, and let us just see whether you can stand the heat of all these flames. Let us see whether you could even extinguish one of them. Here we are, Boston Police, and there are more of us where this came from, and we are not going to stop calling and writing and pestering you for answers and behaving as though we are entitled to them, which we are. Every year there are more candles to light as the annual count grows. I want to love any increase of brightness, but lighting a candle for every murdered transperson in the past year is not one of those times. I wish the number of flames would dwindle. I am in that moment of the House of Shammai, he who argued that Chanukah candles should start at eight and dwindle down to one. Hillel's method, the increase of light, was adopted instead, and it seems correct to me even when I separate it from "tradition," also known as "the way we've always done it in my family ever since we started having the holiday at our house instead of Bubbe Rochel's." Light should increase in times of joy, in times of sorrow, light should increase. I do not think these are contradictory positions. In the story of Chanukah, we're brought over and over again to the understanding that the miracle of this jar of oil is only on the surface the fact that it burned longer than anyone expected that much oil to burn. That's kind of cool, but we don't make it a holiday. What happened in the Temple 2200 years ago is that the hearts of Jews miserable in defeat, locked away from their source of religious observance were in darkness. They were in despair. And when the light came back on, when they saw the international, wordless, perfect symbol of We Are Here, they rejoiced in it. I hope that someday transpeople too have the moment to call light out of darkness, that we too can celebrate our resistance with friends and family. I would enjoy it very much. But until then, we are going to have resist, and we are going to have to get better and smarter and more cohesive and more compassionate and more resolute in our resistance. That is the light that we can call out of this darkness. We are the light that we can call out of this darkness. And make no mistake, it will require all the qualities of a candle. It will require us to make ourselves visible, eyecatching even, when we might rather hide, as long as we think we can stay safe we will have to do it, and we will have to pay attention to how "safety" works and who gets it and why. We will need the candle's brightness, especially when things are dark metaphorically dark, I mean, when the next report of the next murder is announced we will have to let go of muttering "such a shame" and instead celebrate what would have been her birthday with a giant cake that has her right damn name on it and deliver slices to the police station and the newspaper. We may indeed need to burn, to allow ourselves to be a little consumed by our resistance, to give something of ourselves to the fight and assume that it may not be returned, that what we sacrifice will become worthwhile in the fullness of time but is unlikely indeed to be returned to us personally. On the other hand, resistance fighters are well-known to be smarter and sneakier and more nimble and better-

5 looking than the soldiers of armies; resistance values the trickster above the blunt follower of orders. Look for it in the wintertime, if you want to find The Light Of The Season the real light, not the Hallmark one. Look for the location of resistance. Look for the darkness in which you can be a spark. Look for the opportunity to be bright, to light someone else's way, to warm their hands, to shuttle them safely through the dark. Look for the crack you can fill or the shadow you can dispel by bringing a little bit of the light of resistance, carefully and precisely, to just the place where it is needed. Look for the place of being bright, of being bright and present outside your own house, or in the window, on the opposite side to the mezuzah, letting anyone who passes know. We are here. Note for Facilitators: This is the heart of the conversation. Give people several minutes to prepare their thoughts. Then, if you would like, you can invite people to divide into pairs or triads and share their responses. Give them a good amount of time for this minutes. It may be longer, depending on how much momentum they develop. Then reconvene in the large group and ask people to share from their small-group conversations. You can also begin the big group conversation without having a smaller breakout first. A few tips on facilitation: The large-group debrief should take another minutes. Begin by asking for a volunteer to share an insight from their conversation. You might begin by asking, What came up? When each person is done, thank them for their comment. Don t feel a need to rush or to fill silences. If someone begins to monopolize the time, you might say, I want to be sure that everyone has a chance to speak, so let s try to make room for another person. For other ideas on facilitation, please refer to the AIR-IT guide at the end of this document. When you sense that the group has finished sharing its responses to these questions, invite people to share any further insights or reflections from the conversation, before moving to the conclusion. Interpretive Questions: What are the various responses to Antiochus IV s edicts? What do you think informs these responses? In what ways did those who began Trans Day of Remembrance take a stand? In what ways are the approaches Jews of the historical Hanukah story similar to or different from those of the various people in Bergman s piece? Reflective Questions: Where do you see yourself in these stories in Bergman s piece, and/or in the historical story of Hanukah? What are the risks of taking a stand? The benefits? How do you decide when to take a stand, and when not to? Do your decisions to act or not reflect your ideals? Why or why not?

6 4. DO Taking a stand for something you believe in can be frightening, risky, and challenging for a myriad of different reasons. And yet, as Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of Israel, wrote, Everyone must know that within them burns a candle--and that no one s candle is identical with the candle of another, and that there is no human being without a candle. One is obligated to work hard to reveal the light of one s candle in the public realm for the benefit of the many. One needs to ignite one s candle and make of it a great torch to enlighten the whole world. As we close our conversation today, here is one final question to consider. Use the space below to reflect on it, and then we ll share our answers: What is one thing you can do to take a stand for something you believe in? Give people a minute to reflect on the question. Then ask anyone who wants to share to do so. When you sense that the group has finished sharing its response to this question, invite people to share any further insights or reflections from the conversation, before moving to the conclusion. Thank you for holding our conversation today, and for contributing your unique voices to a conversation that has been taking place for thousands of years. This is how we keep the candles burning. If you enjoyed this conversation, we encourage you to check out our partner Keshet at keshetonline.org. Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life. If you would like to learn how your Jewish community can observe Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit, Hillel is proud to announce the recent re-launch of its LGBT and Allies listserv, a space for Hillel professionals to share resources, consult with one another on opportunities and challenges, and to cultivate deeper relationships and networks between our colleagues. To join the list, Hillel professionals should Arya Marvazy, Manager for Talent Recruitment and Professional Development, at

7 Ask Big Questions is an initiative of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in partnership with the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust. Visit AskBigQuestions.org to answer questions, learn from others, and join the movement.

8 APPENDIX SOME DEFINITIONS Adapted from Keshet s glossary, which can be accessed here: Terminology.pdf SEX A person s assignment at birth as biologically male, female, or intersex. GENDER IDENTITY A person s inner understanding of what gender(s) they belong to or identify with. This is each person s unique knowing or feeling, and is separate from a person s physical body or appearance (although often related). GENDER EXPRESSION External manifestation of one s gender identity, usually expressed through masculine, feminine or gender variant behavior, clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics. Sometimes what is expressed externally matches a person s gender identity, and sometimes what is expressed externally is perceived as incongruous with one s personal sense of their gender. SEXUAL ORIENTATION A pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions. A sense of one s personal and social identity based attractions and behaviors expressing them. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing how one chooses to identify and present is not necessarily related to the type or types of people to whom this same person might be attracted. TRANSGENDER or TRANS* An umbrella term for anyone who knows themselves to be a gender that is different than the gender they were assigned at birth. Some trans people may have an alternate gender identity that is neither male nor female, and for some people their gender identity may vary at different points in their lives. Some transgender people modify their bodies through medical means, and some do not. CISGENDER A person who is comfortable in the gender they were assigned at birth. It is used to contrast with transgender on the gender spectrum. Cisgender has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis, meaning on the same side. TRANSSEXUAL A person who feels that his or her gender identity does not match his or her assigned biological sex. Some transsexuals, though not all, have sex reassignment surgery and/or take hormones to make their bodies look more traditionally male or female. GENDER VARIANT/GENDERQUEER 1) A broad political and cultural identity that includes many (but not all) transgender, transsexual, and gender nonconforming people, as well as others who see their gender as falling outside of mainstream norms. 2) People who identify as neither male nor female, both male and female, or who claim an alternate gender identity of their own. PRONOUNS An important way to respect trans people is to refer to them with their preferred gender pronouns. Some people want to be referred to as he / him / his, some as she / her / hers, some as a combination. Others want to be referred to with alternative/gender-neutral pronouns, such as ze or xie ( zee ) / hir ( heer ), or they / them / theirs ( Max is doing well. I saw hir yesterday, and ze said to say hi to you.). Some prefer not to use pronouns and all and only use their proper name ( I saw Max yesterday in class. I thought Max gave great answers to the professor s questions, and I thought Max s questions were great too. ). It is always best to ask someone Do you have a preferred gender pronoun?

9 SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE Adapted from The Transgender Day of Remembrance is held each November to mark the anniversary of the murder of Rita Hester, who was stabbed to death in her home near Boston, Massachusetts, on November 28, Hester s murder, like many hate crimes against persons due to gender identity or expression, has yet to be solved. The memorial, begun in San Francisco in 1999, is now held annually in cities around the world to honor the memory of persons murdered during the previous 12 months because of their gender identity or expression. Many may have identified as transgender, but others were victimized simply because something about their expression varied from gender norms. Observation of the Transgender Day of Remembrance also serves to raise public awareness of crimes against transgender people -- an action that current media does not well perform. Even when clearly understood and conveyed to reporters, the gender identity of a victim is very often misrepresented. Other murders are ignored by the media, reported only by human rights investigators. And when a murder is reported, the media often imply or outright state that non-conforming gender expression rather than the violent action of a criminal is the cause of the murder. The disregard can extend to law enforcement as well. Sadly, the majority of the murders that have been the subject of these memorials remain unsolved. By increasing public awareness about these crimes, the voices speaking up for equality, for protections, and for justice are multiplied. The annual vigil is also a way for all persons to reach out and express tolerance, love, and respect for our human diversity. It is a time that the transgender community gathers together with allies and with persons across the broad spectrum of the LGBT community to honor the memories of those who have paid an enormous price for simply being who they are. This ceremony strives to remind non-transgender persons that transfolk are their sons, their daughters, their parents, friends, and lovers. The Day of Remembrance is an opportunity for allies to stand together with the LGBT community to memorialize those lost precious lives. Thank you for contributing to the conversation.

10 AIR-IT: A GUIDE TO FACILITATING CONVERSATION A: ASK BIG QUESTIONS. Big Questions are different than Hard Questions. Big Question Anyone can answer it. Example: When have you been a stranger? Focuses on wisdom and experience. Example: What s the best advice you ve ever received? Uses plain language. Directed at a subject (me, you, us). Example: What could we sacrifice to change the world? Opens up space and invites people in as participants Leads to sharing personal stories. Emphasizes a both/and approach. Hard Question Experts will answer it best. Example: What is the history of racism on campus and what can be done to promote greater inclusion? Focuses on intelligence and skill. Example: Are human beings naturally good or evil? Uses technical language. Directed at an object (it). Example: Is it better to cut spending or raise taxes to balance the federal budget? Closes space and leads people to feel like spectators. Leads to debates about truth claims. Emphasizes an either/or approach. I: INVITE PERSONAL STORIES. Big questions lead to sharing personal stories. The facilitator acts to support this by: Creating the space (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual) of trust in which these stories can be shared and honored. Weaving: Summarize, reflect back, and keep the stories and observations tethered to the big question. This helps the group to maintain integrity and not feel that it is fragmenting or fraying. R: REALLY LISTEN. Ask Big Questions conversations are marked by real listening. The facilitator s reflecting back and weaving is crucial to this. Participants should be able to answer questions like: What did so-and-so say? What do you think they meant when they said it? What did it evoke in you? IT: USE INTERPRETIVE THINGS. Ask Big Questions conversations often use a text, poem, artwork, song, natural object or other interpretive thing to help center the conversation and create a common point of access for all participants.

11 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN PREPARING FOR A DISCUSSION WHERE? Does the place where you re having the conversation create a space in which people can feel safe? Is it a closed space? Does it have a door you can close to ensure privacy and confidentiality when needed? What can you do to make the space visually appealing or lovely? Does it have windows to let in light? Do you want to play some music? Can everyone sit comfortably in a circle? WHEN? Are you scheduling the conversation at a time when everyone can be physically awake and present? Will people be hungry? Will you provide food or drink? Will they be tired or sleepy after a meal? How long will the conversation be? How will you break up the time if necessary? WHO AND HOW? How many people will participate? Will there be enough to sustain diverse conversation? Will there be too many to keep the conversation centered? How will you get the word out and then remind people? Do you need to make any special arrangements for people with special needs (i.e. physical disabilities)? Greetings Who will welcome people to the conversation and how will they do it? How will you have everyone introduce themselves? (Big Questions are great for introductions!) How will you close the conversation? How will you follow up with people? How will you capture their contact information? WHAT ABOUT YOU? What will you do to get yourself ready?

12 WHEN DO YOU TAKE A STAND? A HANUKAH CONVERSATION GUIDE FOR PARTICIPANTS 1. WELCOME Getting Started Before we begin, we need to agree on a few things: In order for our conversation to be as rich as it can be, we need everyone to feel safe to really share and really listen. Therefore, what is said in this conversation stays in this conversation, and may not be repeated outside it. Our aim is to create a space where we can understand others and understand ourselves, not to give advice or to argue ideas of objective truth. With that in mind, in this conversation we will agree to speak in the first-person, about our own truth. We will assume good faith in one another. We will open ourselves to listen and learn from one another. We won t rush to fill the silence. Can we all agree to these things? If you feel, for whatever reason, that you cannot agree to these things, then please take this opportunity to exit. By staying in the circle, we all signify our intention to abide by these commitments.

13 2. ASK AND SHARE Let s begin by looking at some images. Below are a bunch of pictures. Each one can prompt you to think about taking a stand: What does the picture tell you about taking a stand? Which images speak to you? Which images challenge you? Take a few moments to look at the pictures, and then we ll share our responses. You can use the space below the pictures to write some notes to yourself.

14 3. LEARN The Hanukah Story Some History In the 2 nd Century, B.C.E., the land of Judea was under the rule of the Seleucid Empire. The king Antiochus III allowed the Jews who lived there to maintain the customs of their ancestors. When his son, Antiochus IV, came into power, however, he outlawed practice of the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. Some Jews went along with this edict, while others refused. In 168 B.C.E., his soldiers came to Jerusalem, massacred thousands of people, and looted and desecrated the Temple the most sacred space in Judaism by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its holy walls. A complex war erupted, involving the rebel Jews warring both the Seleucid army and, to some degree, the Hellenizing Jews. The Maccabees the small, bandit guerilla army of traditionalists were, against all odds, victorious, and the Temple was reclaimed and its altar rededicated. The festival of Hanukah was instituted to celebrate this rededication. According to a story found in the Talmud (the principal body of Jewish civil and ritual law and legend, which dates to about 500 CE), the menorah in the Temple required a certain amount of ritually pure olive oil in order to burn. Although, as the Talmudic story goes, there was only one day s worth of oil left in the Temple, it burned for eight days, long enough to prepare a fresh supply. The author and playwright S. Bear Bergman writes about Hanukah and the holiday of Transgender Day of Remembrance which takes place every year on November 20 th in the following essay, Gathering Light Out of Darkness, from his book Blood, Marriage, Wine and Glitter. A video clip of Bergman reading his piece will be available online at sbearbergman.com/abq from October 15, January 1 st, Some definitions and more information about Transgender Day of Remembrance can be found in the Appendix at the end of this conversation guide. Transgender Day of Remembrance [is] the day we gather to remember our dead those trans people, mostly transwomen, mostly women of colour who have been murdered in the previous year for the grave and terrible crime of being transsexual, or transgender. The first vigil came two weeks after Rita Hester was murdered in Boston. Hundreds of people poured into the streets in outrage when the details were released she had been stabbed more than twenty times, and left for dead. A robbery gone bad. Probably, the police said, the work of a john. Rita never having been a sex worker made as much difference to their conclusions as the fact that anything she was known to have to steal was still in her apartment, covered in her blood. Her people lit candles and they marched. They walked down the Allston, Massachusetts street from the bar where she was last seen alive to her apartment and they stood in a bright cluster under what had been her window, first chanting and then singing. Their display was unmistakable, their sorrow as huge as their resistance here we are, they chanted, here we are. Here we are, Rita, come to soothe your restless ghost and pray you home to wherever your G-d is, so you can sit

15 at her right hand and rest yourself a while. Here we are, you attackers, you cowards, come now and bring your knives, and let us just see whether you can stand the heat of all these flames. Let us see whether you could even extinguish one of them. Here we are, Boston Police, and there are more of us where this came from, and we are not going to stop calling and writing and pestering you for answers and behaving as though we are entitled to them, which we are. Every year there are more candles to light as the annual count grows. I want to love any increase of brightness, but lighting a candle for every murdered transperson in the past year is not one of those times. I wish the number of flames would dwindle. I am in that moment of the House of Shammai, he who argued that Chanukah candles should start at eight and dwindle down to one. Hillel's method, the increase of light, was adopted instead, and it seems correct to me even when I separate it from "tradition," also known as "the way we've always done it in my family ever since we started having the holiday at our house instead of Bubbe Rochel's." Light should increase in times of joy, in times of sorrow, light should increase. I do not think these are contradictory positions. In the story of Chanukah, we're brought over and over again to the understanding that the miracle of this jar of oil is only on the surface the fact that it burned longer than anyone expected that much oil to burn. That's kind of cool, but we don't make it a holiday. What happened in the Temple 2200 years ago is that the hearts of Jews miserable in defeat, locked away from their source of religious observance were in darkness. They were in despair. And when the light came back on, when they saw the international, wordless, perfect symbol of We Are Here, they rejoiced in it. I hope that someday transpeople too have the moment to call light out of darkness, that we too can celebrate our resistance with friends and family. I would enjoy it very much. But until then, we are going to have resist, and we are going to have to get better and smarter and more cohesive and more compassionate and more resolute in our resistance. That is the light that we can call out of this darkness. We are the light that we can call out of this darkness. And make no mistake, it will require all the qualities of a candle. It will require us to make ourselves visible, eyecatching even, when we might rather hide, as long as we think we can stay safe we will have to do it, and we will have to pay attention to how "safety" works and who gets it and why. We will need the candle's brightness, especially when things are dark metaphorically dark, I mean, when the next report of the next murder is announced we will have to let go of muttering "such a shame" and instead celebrate what would have been her birthday with a giant cake that has her right damn name on it and deliver slices to the police station and the newspaper. We may indeed need to burn, to allow ourselves to be a little consumed by our resistance, to give something of ourselves to the fight and assume that it may not be returned, that what we sacrifice will become worthwhile in the fullness of time but is unlikely indeed to be returned to us personally. On the other hand, resistance fighters are well-known to be smarter and sneakier and more nimble and betterlooking than the soldiers of armies; resistance values the trickster above the blunt follower of orders. Look for it in the wintertime, if you want to find The Light Of The Season the real light, not the Hallmark one. Look for the location of resistance. Look for the darkness in which you can be a spark. Look for the opportunity to be bright, to light someone else's way, to warm their hands, to shuttle them safely through the dark. Look for the crack you can fill or the shadow you can dispel by bringing a little bit of the light of resistance, carefully and precisely, to just the place where it is needed. Look for the place of being bright, of being bright and present outside your own house, or in the window, on the opposite side to the mezuzah, letting anyone who passes know. We are here.

16 Interpretive Questions: What are the various responses to Antiochus IV s edicts? What do you think informs these responses? In what ways did those who began Trans Day of Remembrance take a stand? In what ways are the approaches Jews of the historical Hanukah story similar to or different from those of the various people in Bergman s piece? Reflective Questions: Where do you see yourself in these stories in Bergman s piece, and/or in the historical story of Hanukah? What are the risks of taking a stand? The benefits? How do you decide when to take a stand, and when not to? Do your decisions to act or not reflect your ideals? Why or why not? 4. DO Taking a stand for something you believe in can be frightening, risky, and challenging for a myriad of different reasons. And yet, as Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of Israel, wrote, Everyone must know that within them burns a candle--and that no one s candle is identical with the candle of another, and that there is no human being without a candle. One is obligated to work hard to reveal the light of one s candle in the public realm for the benefit of the many. One needs to ignite one s candle and make of it a great torch to enlighten the whole world. As we close our conversation today, here is one final question to consider. Use the space below to reflect on it, and then we ll share our answers: What is one thing you can do to take a stand for something you believe in? Thank you for holding our conversation today, and for contributing your unique voices to a conversation that has been taking place for thousands of years. This is how we keep the candles burning. If you enjoyed this conversation, we encourage you to check out our partner Keshet at keshetonline.org. Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in Jewish life. If you would like to learn how your Jewish community can observe Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit, Hillel is proud to announce the recent re-launch of its LGBT and Allies listserv, a space for Hillel professionals to share resources, consult with one another on opportunities and challenges, and to cultivate deeper relationships and networks between our colleagues. To join the list, Hillel professionals should Arya Marvazy, Manager for Talent Recruitment and Professional Development, at

17 Ask Big Questions is an initiative of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in partnership with the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust. Visit AskBigQuestions.org to answer questions, learn from others, and join the movement.

18 APPENDIX SOME DEFINITIONS Adapted from Keshet s glossary, which can be accessed here: Terminology.pdf SEX A person s assignment at birth as biologically male, female, or intersex. GENDER IDENTITY A person s inner understanding of what gender(s) they belong to or identify with. This is each person s unique knowing or feeling, and is separate from a person s physical body or appearance (although often related). GENDER EXPRESSION External manifestation of one s gender identity, usually expressed through masculine, feminine or gender variant behavior, clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics. Sometimes what is expressed externally matches a person s gender identity, and sometimes what is expressed externally is perceived as incongruous with one s personal sense of their gender. SEXUAL ORIENTATION A pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions. A sense of one s personal and social identity based attractions and behaviors expressing them. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing how one chooses to identify and present is not necessarily related to the type or types of people to whom this same person might be attracted. TRANSGENDER or TRANS* An umbrella term for anyone who knows themselves to be a gender that is different than the gender they were assigned at birth. Some trans people may have an alternate gender identity that is neither male nor female, and for some people their gender identity may vary at different points in their lives. Some transgender people modify their bodies through medical means, and some do not. CISGENDER A person who is comfortable in the gender they were assigned at birth. It is used to contrast with transgender on the gender spectrum. Cisgender has its origin in the Latin-derived prefix cis, meaning on the same side. TRANSSEXUAL A person who feels that his or her gender identity does not match his or her assigned biological sex. Some transsexuals, though not all, have sex reassignment surgery and/or take hormones to make their bodies look more traditionally male or female. GENDER VARIANT/GENDERQUEER 1) A broad political and cultural identity that includes many (but not all) transgender, transsexual, and gender nonconforming people, as well as others who see their gender as falling outside of mainstream norms. 2) People who identify as neither male nor female, both male and female, or who claim an alternate gender identity of their own. PRONOUNS An important way to respect trans people is to refer to them with their preferred gender pronouns. Some people want to be referred to as he / him / his, some as she / her / hers, some as a combination. Others want to be referred to with alternative/gender-neutral pronouns, such as ze or xie ( zee ) / hir ( heer ), or they / them / theirs ( Max is doing well. I saw hir yesterday, and ze said to say hi to you.). Some prefer not to use pronouns and all and only use their proper name ( I saw Max yesterday in class. I thought Max gave great answers to the professor s questions, and I thought Max s questions were great too. ). It is always best to ask someone Do you have a preferred gender pronoun?

19 SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE Adapted from The Transgender Day of Remembrance is held each November to mark the anniversary of the murder of Rita Hester, who was stabbed to death in her home near Boston, Massachusetts, on November 28, Hester s murder, like many hate crimes against persons due to gender identity or expression, has yet to be solved. The memorial, begun in San Francisco in 1999, is now held annually in cities around the world to honor the memory of persons murdered during the previous 12 months because of their gender identity or expression. Many may have identified as transgender, but others were victimized simply because something about their expression varied from gender norms. Observation of the Transgender Day of Remembrance also serves to raise public awareness of crimes against transgender people -- an action that current media does not well perform. Even when clearly understood and conveyed to reporters, the gender identity of a victim is very often misrepresented. Other murders are ignored by the media, reported only by human rights investigators. And when a murder is reported, the media often imply or outright state that non-conforming gender expression rather than the violent action of a criminal is the cause of the murder. The disregard can extend to law enforcement as well. Sadly, the majority of the murders that have been the subject of these memorials remain unsolved. By increasing public awareness about these crimes, the voices speaking up for equality, for protections, and for justice are multiplied. The annual vigil is also a way for all persons to reach out and express tolerance, love, and respect for our human diversity. It is a time that the transgender community gathers together with allies and with persons across the broad spectrum of the LGBT community to honor the memories of those who have paid an enormous price for simply being who they are. This ceremony strives to remind non-transgender persons that transfolk are their sons, their daughters, their parents, friends, and lovers. The Day of Remembrance is an opportunity for allies to stand together with the LGBT community to memorialize those lost precious lives.

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