Queerness and Judaism have always been a part of Rayna Grossman's life: Rayna was raised by lesbian parents in a Reconstructionist Jewish household.
When we spoke, Rayna was in rabbinical school at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and identified as queer and gender-queer.
"When Transgender Day of Remembrance came around, two other students at RRC led the morning prayers, and it was all themed around the Transgender Day of Remembrance. A lot of Transgender Days of Remembrance that I have been to have either been heavily Christian, or they’ve been hostile towards religion. But I have never been in a space where there was really any kind of real acknowledgement of Jewish presence, or Jewish trans people."
"I’m not somebody who tends to get emotional in public, that’s not something I enjoy, and I was weeping the entire time. I had never in my life been able to hold those two things at once. Ever. And it was the first time that it had ever happened. And it was absolutely—it was mind-blowing."
This text is condensed and edited from a Queerituality conversation Rayna Grossman recorded on June 16, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa. Thanks to Arch Street United Methodist Church for allowing us space to record, and to Haley for transcribing.