Joy Ladin

Joy Ladin shares her personal journey and offers her insights and unique reading of gender identity in the Hebrew Torah. She analyzes and reinterprets key texts from a trans perspective–that is, in light of experiences of not fitting into identity-defining roles and categories, experiences of feeling estranged that are particularly acute for transgender and nonbinary people but common to everyone and, the Torah tells us, to God.

Since coming out as transgender in 2008, Joy has become an internationally recognized speaker on transgender issues. A celebrated poet, literary scholar, and public speaker, Joy has empowered many with her personal journey of integrity and resilience. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. It details her transition within an Orthodox university and eloquently weaves together Jewish and transgender themes.

Joy Ladin holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Princeton University, and long held the Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University. Her most recent book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, was a Lambda Literary Award and Triangle Award finalist. A new book of poems in the voice of the Shekhinah, the feminine aspect of the Divine, Shekhinah Speaks, is forthcoming in early 2022. She serves as an emeritus member of the Board of Keshet, an organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world.

Joy Ladin’s talk was co-sponsored by Kolot Mayim Reform Temple and the Chair in Transgender Studies at the University of Victoria. The world’s first Chair in Transgender Studies works to provide inspiration and hope to Trans+ people and allies, and to advance reconciliation, racial justice, equity, and inclusion for all.