Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Transgender dating in the Orthodox world

The NYT "Ethicist" column gets a Jewish dating question:

I am a straight woman, and I was set up on a date with a man. We got along well initially, but I grew concerned about how evasive he was about his past. I did some sophisticated checking online — I do research professionally — and discovered that he is a female-to-male transgender ed individual. I then ended our relationship. He and I live in Orthodox Jewish communities. (I believe he converted shortly after he became a man.) I think he continues to date women within our group. Should I urge our rabbi to out this person? NAME WITHHELD, N.Y.

The Ethicist answers that the date should have revealed his sex-change history very early on, but that the woman has no right to ask the rabbi to 'out' him publicly (though she can discuss it with friends). All of which seems right. I do think, however, that she should find out whether the person who set them up knew beforehand. If they did, she might have an issue there; and if they didn't, they are entitled - more than that, have a responsibility - to know before they set him up with anyone else.

What do you think?

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