Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Via WGB: Marriage Equality Victory in Puerto Rico

A three-judge panel with the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled Puerto Rico’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, according to the Washington Blade.

With today's pro-equality ruling from the First Circuit Court of Appeals, same-sex marriages can begin in Puerto Rico on July 15, according to reports. Full story here!

Via JMG: PUERTO RICO: First Circuit Finally Rules Marriage Ban To Be Unconstitutional

Earlier this year the First Circuit punted on the appeal of Puerto Rico's marriage case, saying that it would wait until SCOTUS rules. Today we finally got that decision. Via Lambda Legal:
Today’s decision provides further recognition of the dignity and equality of LGBT people in Puerto Rico. We applaud the First Circuit for recognizing that Puerto Rico’s marriage ban is unconstitutional, and reversing the lower court ruling. We also commend the Puerto Rico government for joining in the call to end the marriage ban. Certainly, after the historic ruling from the Supreme Court, this ruling from the First Circuit was not unexpected. There remains no legal or moral justification for forcing same-sex couples in Puerto Rico to wait any longer to have their love and commitment recognized by the state. The Governor of Puerto Rico already signed an executive order on June 26 that marriages will begin 15 days after the Supreme Court ruling, but now that the First Circuit has agreed that the marriage ban is unconstitutional, same-sex couples should be able to marry now. To do otherwise is to put form over substance.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via Sojourn Blog: More Than Just Male and Female: The Six Genders in Classical Judaism

It's very easy to assume that Judaism is an exclusively gender-binary religion. Almost all of the common traditional laws are based on the assumed differences between males and females. We see it in assumed gender roles, in liturgy, in proscribed family responsibilities, and in both our secular and religious laws. 

If, however, we look just a bit deeper into our sacred texts, we see that a simple male/female binary is not only cumbersome, it's wholly inaccurate. This description from Trans Torah/Rabbi Elliot Kukla starts the conversation that we will continue throughout the summer:

  •  Zachar/זָכָר: This term is derived from the word for a pointy sword and refers to a phallus. It is usually translated as “male” in English.

  • Nekeivah/נְקֵבָה: This term is derived from the word for a crevice and probably refers to a vaginal opening. It is usually translated as “female” in English.

  • Androgynos/אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוֹס: A person who has both “male” and “female” sexual characteristics. 149 references in Mishna and Talmud (1st-8th Centuries CE); 350 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes (2nd -16th Centuries CE).

  • Tumtum/ טֻומְטוּם A person whose sexual characteristics are indeterminate or obscured. 181 references in Mishna and Talmud; 335 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.

  • Ay’lonit/איילונית: A person who is identified as “female” at birth but develops “male” characteristics at puberty and is infertile. 80 references in Mishna and Talmud; 40 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.

  • Saris/סריס: A person who is identified as “male” at birth but develops “female” characteristics as puberty and/or is lacking a penis. A saris can be “naturally” a saris (saris hamah), or become one through human intervention (saris adam). 156 references in mishna and Talmud; 379 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.  

There's a huge amount of information to unpack here, and we'll be continuing all summer long to do just that, including looking at the legal obligations of each of the genders and what the real-world application of this information is. For now, though, the main point to take from all of this: The male/female binary is not, in any way, the exclusive system of gender classification in traditional Judaism*.  

So how did we get to this point, where the assumption has become that only male and female exist? It's a classic example of commonality being equated to superiority. Because male and female are the two most common categories, they were assumed to be "better," rather than "typical." As we have come to understand the complexities of gender more and more in secular society, these Judaic classifications are beginning to appear more and more often and we can clearly see that our ancestors were quite progressive when it comes to gender.

Because, as Ben Bagbag says in Pirkei Avot 5:22:

בן בגבג אומר, הפוך בה והפך בה, והגי בה דכולא בה, ובה תחזי, סיב ובלי בה; ומינה לא תזוז, שאין לך מידה טובה יותר ממנה

Ben Bagbag said: Turn it [Torah] over and turn it over because everything is in it. Look within it and grow old within it; do not move from it, because there is no better attribute for you to have than it.

*Here is a fascinating article that goes more in-depth on the subject:  Gender Identity In Halakhic Discourse by Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert.

Make the jump here to read the  original

Mr. Deity and the Quitter

Brendan Maclean - The Feeling Again (Official Video)

Via Shift of the Ages / FB:

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do Dia- Flor del Día - Flower of the Day 08/07/2015

“O que está por trás da acusação, do ciúme, da posse, das disputas e de todos os jogos da luxúria? É você acreditar que sua felicidade depende do outro. Essa é a ilusão básica que faz de você um escravo do outro.”

“¿Qué hay detrás de la acusación, de los celos, de la posesión, de las disputas y de todos los juegos de la lujuria? Es creer que tu felicidad depende del otro. Esa es la ilusión básica que te hace un esclavo del otro.”

“What is behind accusation, jealousy, possession, conflict, and all the other games of lust? It is the belief that our happiness depends on the other. This is the basic illusion that makes us a slave to the other.”

Today's Daily Dharma: Reach Out to Let Go

Reach Out to Let Go
Anger doesn't just happen to us. If we're able to catch an angry thought as it's budding, we can let it go. The same is true of despair or hopelessness. And when letting go is too difficult, a good medicine for dealing with these emotions is to reach out and help others, healing them and ourselves.
John Daido Loori Roshi, "Between Two Mountains"