Growing up, my discomfort derived from the separate-but-equal mentality I found inherent within a mechitza service. Sometimes, the mechitza is a balcony (women in the back, men in the front). Sometimes, the Torah and the service-leader are only on the men’s side. Even in the more forward-thinking mechitza services that I’ve attended, there are still areas in which women may not lead. As an outspoken queer feminist, mechitzas make me uncomfortable... to say the least.
Today is the 11th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to mourn those who were killed by hatred, bigotry, and ignorance. Many of these deaths went unreported in the media, or if they were covered, the victims were reduced to attention-grabbing headlines and dehumanizing terms. You can read the names of the 162 trans people murdered between November 20, 2008 and November 12, 2009 here, and these are only the people we know about.