February 5, 2024 – As leaders representing the Reform Jewish Community of Canada, we join together to affirm our unequivocal support for transgender rights and call on local and provincial governments and the government of Canada to affirm and preserve these rights. Specifically, we denounce Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s recently proposed policies to deny access to healthcare and athletics and placing barriers in educational settings for transgender youth. These policies will prevent transgender and gender queer children from accessing crucial care, and from being seen as their true selves.
LGBTQ2S+ youth are among the most vulnerable in our society, five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than their heterosexual, cisgender peers. Denying access to healthcare, inclusive and supportive school communities, and athletics risks children’s lives.
Jewish tradition teaches that all people are created b’tzelem Elohim (in the Divine image) and are worthy of dignity and respect (Genesis 1:27). Guided by our Jewish values and the Reform Movement’s long history of supporting LGBTQ2S+ equality, we are committed to protecting the civil rights of all people and call on all levels of government to reject proposals to prohibit gender-affirming medical care, restrict transgender participation in school athletics, and censor curricula that affirm LGBTQ2S+ people.
Our Reform Jewish Movement includes many transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender expansive people: They are our clergy, congregants, children and young people, staff members and neighbours. Many in our community are terrified and heartbroken by the overwhelming onslaught of bigotry, discrimination and hatred aimed at those who identify as LGBTQ2S+.
At this critical moment, we reaffirm our support for all those who seek to live without fear of harassment, violence, or discrimination, and that our clergy and institutions are committed to caring for and supporting everyone who is affected by this dangerous and widespread assault on trans and queer people. We celebrate the countless parents, educators, health care providers and advocates who help our youth inhabit and navigate the world as their authentic selves and we commend all who are fighting for justice and equity.
We call on the government of Alberta to rescind the hateful and harmful policies against transgender Albertans. We call on the governments of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick to do the same. We call on all other provincial governments and the Government of Canada to ensure the equality, validity, safety and security of all LGBTQ2S+ people.
Reform Jewish Community of Canada
Len Bates (he/him)
Reform Rabbis of Canada
Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg
The Reform Jewish Community of Canada provides vision and voice to build strong communities that, together, transform the way people connect to Judaism and change the world. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision ensure we can unite thousands of years of tradition with modern experience to strengthen Judaism today and for generations to come. More than 30,000 Canadians are affiliated with 25 Reform congregations across Canada who are also members of the North American Reform Movement which has at its core the 850-congregation strong Union for Reform Judaism, or URJ.
Download the full statement below.