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Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner on Woman’s Hour

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner took part in a BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour discussion on the government’s Gender Recognition Act consultation.

You can listen to the broadcast here

Transcript of Rabbi Janner-Klausner’s contribution 

(My child is) called Tal. They were born Tali. They were born initially with the biology of a girl and when they were in their late teens/early twenties they understood that this absolutely did not fit their identity. And they are right. They came and said ‘look, this doesn’t fit. I’m non-binary. I don’t identify as a female and certainly not as a male’. So I feel non-binary. And they’re right. It made total sense. It was like a penny dropped. And since then we have all been much happier and have gained so much more by an understanding of non-binary, of trans, of how we’re different in so many ways.

It was very much about the present.who am I now? What is the meaning of who I am now? And when I and they think about the future together the very broad idea of what that could be stays the same because it now correlated with who they identify as, what their name is, how people speak to them. Their future is determined by many things, thank god.

But I want to talk about the gain. There has been so much fear in this conversation. I have gained so much understanding. We’re all pretty queer in many ways. If people had said to me ‘you can’t be a rabbi cos you’re female…’ it’s changed the meaning of female.

(We need to be curious not furious) because so often it’s our fear factor which ends up then turning in to fury and I want people to say ‘well, hang on, what does this mean? Why are people doing this?’ And to start asking questions. It comes back to the initial thing that Mega (?) said about conversations.

But there has to be an acknowledgement of the danger for trans people and non-gender binary people and then we need to say ‘how are we all going to benefit from this?’ A lot of the language and the fear around the meaning of female is what we heard around equal marriage. Now we’ve had equal marriage it hasn’t changed for the bad the meaning of marriage, it’s enriched it.

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