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Trans-In-Sight: On Gender, Borderlands, and Radiance with Dr. Benjamin Baader
September 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 12:00 pm on Tuesday, repeating until September 8, 2020
Trans-In-Sight: On Gender, Borderlands, and Radiance
with Dr. Benjamin Baader
Dates: August 25, 2020 – September 1, 2020 – September 8, 2020
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET
“Male and female, he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Indeed, the Bible seems to author a world of twos: light-dark, earth-heaven, day-night, man-woman. The Torah introduces us to God, first with a strange plurality (Elohim) and then with male pronouns and verbs. The more personal name of God, YHVH conveys more ambiguity as it employs the typically feminine ending letter, hey. However, you read it, creation from the start is occupied with questions of gender.
Dr. Ben Baader is an associate professor of European and Jewish history at the University of Manitoba. Ben has long been addressing questions of gender, sexuality, and religion with the tools of a historian and the soul of a religious seeker. He will discuss conceptual frameworks, share some of his personal narratives, reflect on rabbinic Judaism and lived spirituality from a trans perspective, and invite us to explore how transgender experience might enrich the fabric of Orthodox communities
The three-part series is entitled: “Trans-in-Sight”: Gender, Borderlands and Radiance and will occur on three Tuesdays 12-1pm, August 25, Sept 1 and Sept 8. Please register soon for the whole series (or any part of it).
The series is complimentary. However, a suggested donation of $54 will be greatly appreciated. You may also sponsor the series.
Part 1: The Paradox of Gender: Both Real and all Air and Light
In this session, I will discuss the workings of gender, based on scholarship of gender theory. I will also compare gender to how Jewishness operates, and I like to draw attention to the dazzling shininess and complexity of these configurations. The very sturdiness of male, female, and Jewish seems to be grounded in the fact that these concepts are fluid and evade narrow definitions. Like the Sacred expressed in Jewish textuality, they are multivalent and radically contingent in their core.
Part 2: Transgender as an Opening into Radiance
This session will be heavily autobiographic, using and expanding on my published text. In my experience, transgender and transcendence are made of the same fabric. The fright and awe of liminal spaces, moments, and bodies can create openings for the flow of intense light and joy. Gender instability and indeterminacy can be luminous, and I like to talk about how I try to cultivate this access to the Holy.
Part 3: Trans People and the Rest of Us In this session
In this session, I wish to think about the role of trans people in Orthodox communities. I argue that transness is not only something to be overcome by successful gender transition, to be accommodated on compassionate grounds, and to be hidden from sight, but it is also a space from which we have something to give and to teach. Both the heterosexual and patriarchal norm, and the liminality of transness and queerness are sites of divine presence.