Please consider contributing an essay for an anthology on the subject of Jews and Transgender. I am eager to hear from representative Jewish voices in trans, gender variant and intersex communities. Persons of any gender or no gender or shifting gender, please feel welcome to contribute. Jews with no relationship to Judaism, secular Jews and Jews along the denominational spectrum should feel equally welcome to reply. Political voices and religious voices all encouraged to respond. Please forward this call for submissions to appropriate lists.

If you have already written an essay on this broad topic that has been published elsewhere, please be aware that I am also interested in reprinting selected pieces that track transJewish voices in history.

I am looking both for new essays AND for permission to reprint certain essays from other sources.

Details about the anthology below.

Thank you in advance for your contribution.

Noach Dzmura
Editor, Jews and Transgender (Summer 2009)

submissions in MS Word format to luke@dzmura.net
2000-3000 words

The book (with a tentative title Jews and Transgender) will be the first in a new series on Jews and Gender that will explore cutting-edge issues in Jewish gender and sexuality studies. If discussions between the prospective publisher and the editor continue along the path we anticipate, Jews and TransGender is slated to go to press in June, 2009. This places the project into an aggressive production schedule that requires a draft manuscript by April 23, 2008.

Intention and Argument
In this anthology, transgender writers and their allies incorporate a trans-inclusive refrain into the multi-vocal Jewish tradition. This unprecedented collection of academic, autobiographical, secular and homiletic essays records triumph as well as struggle, as transgender commentators first encounter the tradition, struggle with it, and ultimately recognize the authority of their unique lens into the texts and rituals of Jewish tradition. An introductory chapter locates and contextualizes the essays in the intersections between Jewish Studies, Feminism and Queer Theory. A concluding chapter attempts to draw from the collected essays a vision of a transgender inclusive Jewish world.

Overview
Noted scholars and activists from the transgender community document the life experience of transgender Jews encountering Judaism—whether they are Female-to-Male (FtM), Male-to-Female (MtF), intersex, “genderqueer” or otherwise gendered. The essays document a journey through fear, doubt and isolation to hope, transformation, and community. They record the discomfort of bringing a transgender body to worship and secular spaces and ritual forms that were not designed to accommodate such bodies. They catalog the unexpected and hopeful encounter of transpersons with the hermaphrodite Androgynos and the intersex Tumtum and other gender variant role models in the Jewish canon. Finally, the essays reflect joy and empowerment as transgender Jewish leaders emerge to create life-cycle events in Jewish space that honor a change from the gender one is assigned at birth, to the gender God has revealed within their hearts.

Chapter 1: Transgender Encounters with Judaism in the Press and in Literature
This chapter will contain an overview of transgender Jews as they have appeared in print, including reprints of watershed articles and first-person accounts

Chapter 2: Contested Spaces
This chapter will contain essays from transgender activists in Jewish spaces (large and small, real and metaphoric spaces) where transgender people encounter challenges with the gender binary in Judaism, where they are struggling to find access and inclusion. There are also essays about expected challenges that never materialized, about the unexpected ease of access to Jewish spaces, and the circumstances that facilitated that easy welcome. These spaces might include Israel, the public restroom, the mechitza, the “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” and the classroom.

Chapter 3: Role Models in Jewish Canon
This chapter will contain essays from transgender scholars, allies, activists and spiritual leaders who have studied Jewish texts and found remarkable support for gender variance in the Jewish canon. Includes essays about Tumtum, androgynos, and the notion of flexibility within even the most orthodox of interpretive traditions.

Chapter 4: Transgender Bodies transform Non-Transgender Rituals, Congregations, and Communal Spaces
This chapter will contain rituals and blessings for transgender life-cycle events and blessings commemorative of phases of transition and tools for congregations interested in extending welcome to gender variant persons. This chapter will also include the voices of Jewish communal organizations leading the way in a drive toward transgender inclusion.

Chapter 5: Closing Words in Support of a Trans-Inclusive Judaism
This chapter will contain a single summarizing essay that draws forth those aspects required for building a trans-inclusive Jewish world.

Editor’s Qualifications
For the past four years Noach Dzmura has been a student of trans/gender and sexuality in Jewish life and scholarship. For the past two years he has served as a teacher and an advocate in service to the transgender Jewish community, and he has been writing essays concerning the need for awareness, welcome and transformation in Jewish communities around transgender issues. Mr Dzmura holds an MA (2007) in Jewish Studies from the Richard S Dinner Center for Jewish Studies of the Graduate Theological Union. His thesis is titled, “Androgynos, Intersubjectivity and the Performance of Gender.” Mr Dzmura spent 2006-07 in Israel courtesy of the Haas-Koshland Award sponsored by the Jewish Community Endowment Fund in San Francisco, CA. He has taught about gender variance in Rabbinic texts at Keshet Ga’avah during World Pride in Israel, he has led workshops at Nehirim GLBT Retreats in New York (on Mishnah Androgynos) and San Francisco (on Isaac Bashevis Singers’ short story Androgynous), and he has guest lectured at the Graduate Theological Union. He has written for the anthology Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary edited by Joan Nestle, Riki Anne Wilchins and Clare Howell. He has also written essays for Sh’ma, for the Jewish Chronicle (UK) and for Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture. He is a transgender activist for a project tentatively called the Trans Think Tank, which is working to identify and address the needs of transgender Jews in the Bay Area, sponsored by the LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Mosaic: The National Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. Mr Dzmura maintains a resource site for transgender Jews called BrerRabbi, online at http://www.brerrabbi.com.