A Descendant of the Founder of Hasidic Judaism Just Came Out As an Atheist Trans Woman

When I read about Abby Stein in a Jewish Telegraphic Agency article, I knew I wanted to talk to her. She’s 24, a student in Brooklyn, and the descendant of a founder of Hasidic Judaism, Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer (also known as the Baal Shem Tov).

Four years ago, she left the Hasidic faith in which she was raised, and about a month ago, she came out publicly — including to her conservative family — as a transgender woman.

When it comes to gender roles, Hasidic Judaism is arguably one of the strictest religions in how it upholds specific rules and responsibilities for men and women. Understandably, Stein’s coming out hasn’t gone over well with her family, particularly with her father. But she’s found a safe space in liberal Jewish circles where she’s accepted for her true self, and she blogs regularly to share news about her gender identity, her journey, and her relationship to her past and present faith.

Stein and I talked on the phone about her interest not only in atheism, but in progressive Judaism, humanism, philosophy, and the many other pieces that make up who she is.

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Wisconsin High Schoolers Hold Public Reading of Banned Book to Support Trans Child

Only days after a Wisconsin elementary school was forced to cancel a reading of I Am Jazz, a book about a transgender girl, students at a neighboring high school banded together to show that their community isn’t a hateful one.

Mount Horeb Primary Center had scheduled the reading because a child had recently come out as transgender, but after Christian legal defense group Liberty Counsel threatened a lawsuit, they called it off. But this morning, Mount Horeb High School’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance stood with 200 supporters at the school’s flagpole and read aloud from the book.

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Christian Group Prevents Kids at Wisconsin School From Reading Book About Trans People

When a child at a Wisconsin elementary school quietly came out to administrators as transgender, the school did everything right. Sadly, it’s all for naught, as Liberty Counsel intervened and ruined a valuable learning opportunity for kids.

After a student came out as trans, Mount Horeb Primary Center scheduled a reading of I Am Jazz, a children’s book written by trans teenager Jazz Jennings.

The principal sent a note home informing parents about the reading, explaining that a student at school was transitioning, and allowing parents to opt their child out of the reading if they so desired:

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Jacksonville Holds “Community Conversation” On LGBT Rights; Angry Christians Call It A Sham

Last week in Jacksonville, Florida, anti-LGBT activists threw a fit at a public forum because LGBT people dared to say they had experienced discrimination.

The occasion was the first of three “community conversations” held by Jacksonville’s mayor, Republican Lenny Curry, about whether the city should extend nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people. This forum was called “Supporting the Needs and Well-Being of Families,” and as you might expect, it quickly devolved into shouting and false accusations.

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Here’s What Happened When a Christian Parent Pulled Her Kids From a Gay Teacher’s Theater Class

“I find that theatre without gays is like cooking without spices.”

That’s only one brilliant line from a text that Michael Neri, a theater teacher from Birmingham, England, sent back to a homophobic parent who told him that she would be pulling her kids from his class because he’s gay. She told him that her family’s beliefs didn’t agree with his “lifestyle,” and he gave her all the reasons why that’s a ridiculous thing to say.

Neri tweeted their exchange, and it caught fire online. Here’s the full text of their conversation:

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