Trans Spirituality – Second Issue

| May 3, 2021
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In this post, I need to address a hot button social issue which is not directly trans related, but does impact the Trans community. That is the issue of police shooting or otherwise killing Black and other POC folx, usually when they are unarmed.

Recently, the Minneapolis officer was found guilty of murder for killing George Floyd. Many rabbis, misquoting the verse, “Justice, Justice you shall pursue” (Deut. 16:20) which refers to judicial procedures, proclaimed victory in the spree of cops killing Black folx. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tragically, during that trial, a Brooklyn Center MN officer shot Daunte Wright to death. She CLAIMED to have grabbed her Glock by accident. As a retired military officer, who knows weapon tactics, procedures and Rules of Engagement, as well as human performance factors, I can assure you that an experienced career officer would not have made this mistake, unless one or more of the following occurred:

  1. Fear – research has shown that female officers go for their guns more quickly than males do.
  2. Anti-Black bias – research has shown that cops are much more likely to draw down on Black and other POC folx than white folx in the same or more drastic situations, especially if the person involved is a male.
  3. Incompetence – this officer may have been a useless slacker.
  4. Deliberately – my belief is that she made this choice deliberately, understanding her experience, training and the differences in the movements to draw the weapons, as well as the differences in the weapons, along with the fact that it was against policy to use a weapon in that particular situation.

Just last week, Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man, was killed by cops in Elizabeth City, NC. He was in his car with his hands on the wheel, so he posed no threat to the cops. He was shot in the back of his head. This is very similar to the Daunte Wright case in that even if he was going to flee, the Rules of Engagement did not call for deadly force, yet he is now dead!

So, how does this relate to the trans community? So far this year, despite a record high number of violent trans deaths, there have been surprisingly few police related trans deaths: one police shooting of a trans person, and one trans person dying in police custody. Usually numbers are much higher.

But if we dig deeper, the connection is actually quite sinister. The vast majority of the killings occur in the Deep South, Midwest and Far West (Cowboy Country). These are areas that are highly influenced by Evangelical Churches.

Despite the fact that the Christian Bible, in the Book of Matthew states

“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:35-40)

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3 (NIV))

The church people get hung up on the supposed corruption of God’s creation by trans people and the supposed violation of the Levitical prohibition of male gay sex, to the exclusion of these universal values. The problem is that Christians do not have access to the Hebrew texts in general, and they don’t have access to the rabbinic commentaries on said texts. So they have no idea what these texts truly say. Which is why I comment on them extensively in my work. Please go to for more information.

And keep in mind, that the vast majority of trans folx who are killed are Black, and so even if it isn’t cops killing them, Black trans folx are always at risk.

Jewish tradition teaches that to save a life overrides all Biblical commandments. Based on that I wrote a halakhic article (a decision on Jewish law) that states it is prohibited to obstruct gender transition, because it endangers trans lives.

Yet far too many people want to hurt us every day. Please stay vigilant and safe out there. . .

Peace out,


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion


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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