Trans Spirituality 12/13/21

| Dec 13, 2021
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We are in the darkest days of the year, approaching the Winter Solstice, and for those who celebrate it, Christmas. This year, Hanukkah is already a distant memory, driven by the Jewish lunar/solar calendar. Sunset is already getting slightly later even though the days are still getting shorter. Pause for a moment to consider this:

“The winter solstice celebrates the return of hope to our land as our planet experiences the first slow turn toward greater daylight. Soon we will welcome the return of the sun and the coming of springtime. As we do so, let us remember and embrace the positive, enriching aspects of winter’s darkness. Pause now to sit in silence in the darkness of this space. Let this space be a safe enclosure of creative gestation for you.” (Author unknown)

All of the winter holidays have, as a feature to them, bringing light into the darkest days of our year, in the northern hemisphere. If you are reading this in the southern hemisphere, you’re laughing because it’s your summer right now, however.

For trans and other queer folx, this is an especially hard time though. It is a harsh reality that for us to live our authentic lives, many of us have had to lose our natal families and lifelong friends. But to be who we are is to survive, to thrive. To stay as we were is to trudge along barely coping, often leading to severe depression and anxiety, and yes suicide.

This is, of course, not to say that life is rosy for trans folx once we transition, of course. As the NTDS clearly documents (and please, participate in the new one this coming year!) external oppression from the cis community causes untold levels of harm, and results in a suicide rate in our community up to ten times higher than in the rest of the US.

In my tradition we are commanded to live. This value is so precious that our rabbis taught that this value overrides all biblical commandments! If you are struggling, help IS AVAILABLE. I know that if you are unhoused, or in severe pain (I live with unmanaged pain myself), or are struggling with addictions, unemployment, or the many other demons we face, it’s really hard to stop and ask for help sometimes.

Friends, last year, the TDOR list was longer than it has ever been. And a number of those deaths were suicide. We can try to prevent them. Mental health crises and suicide always go up at this time of the year, due to the darkness, the lunar tide, the loneliness, etc. If you need help, it’s there. PFLAG has an updated list of hotlines including 741-741, the text hotline, and (877) 565-8860, Trans Lifeline, as well as 1.800.273.8255 (TALK) the national suicide hotline (which now has text as well). I can’t guarantee that every hotline will always have an operator, but this list has a large number of hotlines, so you WILL find someone who can help you.  PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP!  I have personally worked the hotlines this time of year, so I know how hard it is. . .

You are all precious to me, and together we are a strong and vital community. May we all be blessed (as we understand that) with a joyous winter season and a Happy New Year.

Peace out,


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

Rabbah Rona Matlow (ze/hir) is an AMAB NB trans woman. Ze is a retired navy nuclear power officer, permanently disabled veteran and ordained rabbi. Ze is the author of the upcoming book “We are God’s Children Too”, part autobiography and part text which debunks the myths that conservative clergy have been teaching about trans and queer people for millennia. Ze is a communal activist, pastoral counselor and educator. Hir websites are and

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