Author Archives: S. Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman

About S. Bear Bergman

Bear Bergman is an author, storyteller, and educator working to create positive, celebratory representations of trans lives. Recent or current projects include two fabulous children’s storybooks featuring trans-identified kid characters, a performance about loving and living in a queer/ed Jewish family titled Gathering Light, teaching pleasure-positive trans/genderqueer sex ed, and his sixth book Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter (Arsenal Pulp, 2013).

International Transgender Day of Visibility: A Jewish Perspective

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s-bear-bergmanFor a while, just as Transgender Day of Remembrance was getting established as an observance, a competing movement emerged. That competing movement, well-intentioned but wrong-headed, had the following idea:

“Trans Day of Remembrance is a sad and depressing situation. We mope around mourning our murdered community members, and if that’s our only public observance it makes non-trans people think that transgender lives are only and ever nasty, brutish, and short. Instead, let’s take the day and make it celebratory! We’ll have a dance and a film screening and maybe a sexy party!”

Communities battled over this, and the source of the battle was people’s feeling that mourning and celebration were opposite to one another. With some time to reflect, I have been able to understand that this is a way that my Jewish values inform and infuse my understanding of the world so completely that sometimes it takes a while for me to notice why I don’t quite grasp some piece of mainstream, Christian-inflected, thinking.

Coming from a tradition in which the prayer we say for dead people mentions exactly nothing about death but has to be said every day for a year, and whose mourning rituals involve both profound self-abnegation and constant food and family, it’s no wonder I might be slow to understand. Jewish mourning is complex and communal; it invites us into a long contemplation of the dead person and their place in the world, now emptied. Continue reading

Posted on April 3, 2014

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