One of the UK’s major strands of Judaism, Liberal Judaism, has announced that it will host Twilight People: Stories of Gender and Faith Beyond the Binary.
The new project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and will be launched after a successful Transgender Awareness Month.
Twilight People will discover and celebrate the hidden history of transgender and gender-variant people of faith in the UK past and present.
This collection will become the first source of faith and transgender history in Britain.
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Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich said: “Liberal Judaism has always seen part of its mission to give voice to the unheard. Our hosting of the Twilight People project is yet a further example.”
Rev Sharon Ferguson said: “Twilight People is a new and innovative idea that responds directly to the needs put forward by gender-variant people of faith. This project will impact on interfaith and cross-community dialogue, enhancing inter and intra-community cohesion and connections in wider British society.”
Jay Stewart of Gendered Intelligence added: “There is very little discussion around gender variance across the wider community. More so regarding the ways in which religion and faith play a part in gender variance, and where it is discussed it is often seen as quite negative and unproductive.
“Consequently this timely and much-needed project seeks to redress some of this in the hope that it may ignite new discussions and perspectives, tackle stereotypes and instead grapple with our identities in more complex and meaningful ways.”
Gender-nonconforming people have always existed in every culture and community, including religious communities, yet little is known about the people of faith who don’t fit neatly into the binary categories of male and female.
Twilight People will explore the narratives around ‘body and ritual’, documenting the interconnection between faith and gender journeys.
The images and stories of more than 40 members of the various Abrahamic, and non-Abrahamic faiths (and other) will be documented by means of oral history, film and portrait photography.
The collated materials will be mapped, catalogued, deposited and shared with the wider audience via free and accessible channels including an archive collection, website, interactive digital hubs, touring exhibition, booklet, educational resource packs and other learning tools, with a national symposium set to be held in spring 2016 at the University of Warwick as well.