Central Conference of American Rabbis Applauds Attorney General's Directive Forbidding Public School Discrimination against Transgender Students

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Central Conference of American Rabbis welcomes U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch's advisory, which affirms that discrimination against transgender Americans is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   We have for years stated that discrimination against individuals based upon their gender or sexual orientation and identification is wrong, no matter how it is characterized in religious or social terms.  Thus we agree with Lynch and the Obama Administration that refusal to allow transgender Americans to use restrooms conforming to their gender identity is forbidden discrimination based on a person's sex. We endorse the directive's suggestion that the federal government would be duty-bound to withhold federal funds from educational institutions that would discriminate on the basis of gender identity, even if they were doing so in compliance with retrograde state law.

The Reform Rabbinate rejects the characterization of the controversy as being about "boys" or "men" in girls' restrooms. Transgender women and girls are not boys or men—they’re women and girls. We further reject the proposition that people pose as transgender for the purpose of voyeurism or abuse in women's restrooms. No case provides evidence to document these slanderous claims. To the contrary, ample evidence demonstrates that transgender women and girls face violence in men's restrooms.

We condemn those state leaders -- notably North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, though there are others -- who would flout federal law and its supremacy to further their immoral discriminatory goals.

The CCAR has been at the forefront of advocating for LGBT rights for decades. In early 2015, we adopted a far-ranging Resolution on Transgender Rights, and we participated enthusiastically when our partner organization, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), adopted a strong stand in support of transgender rights. Acting together, the CCAR and the URJ became the world's first major religious movement to oppose such discrimination and to advocate for equality. We look forward to the day when a Federal Equality Act will clearly and definitively protect equal rights for Americans, including all LGBT Americans, for we are all created exactly as we are supposed to be, all in the divine image. 

Rabbi Denise L. Eger                Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President                                 Chief Executive

Central Conference of American Rabbis