There are many people who identify as transgender or non-binary and request that they are treated as such by other people, which includes referencing them by the pronoun that they preferred to be called by.

This may include:

  • Someone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery
  • Someone who now identifies themselves as the opposite gender they were assigned at birth even though they have not undergone any gender reassignment surgery.
  • Someone who identifies as non-binary and prefers to be referenced by an alternative pronoun like "Ze","Ve", "Xe" etc, or exclusively using the ambiguous "They".

The question is: are there any halachic problems that would prevent an observant Jew from using someone else's preferred pronouns?

Possible factors could be:

  • מדבר שקר תרחק
  • מסייע לדבר עבירה
  • מחזיקי ידי עוברי עבירה
  • דרכי שלום

Although it is not clear if any of these would really apply in this case.

Also to consider: Would it make a difference if the person underwent gender reassignment surgery? (not sure how one would know this) Does it make a difference if the person is Jewish or non-Jewish?

  • 1
    1 & 4 can be contingent on one another; IOW in keeping with 4 one may sometimes violate 1 (related); OTOH 1 might not be an issue to begin with if society recognizes/accepts a certain dialect and mode of speech (#Orwellian) in accordance with social determinations. Also no violation of 2 & 3 since such a prohibited transition is/would be done regardless how you refer to them (“תרי עברי דנהרא”). – Oliver Jun 18 '19 at 18:16
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    I think it terms of personal conversation, one should respect the other one's feelings and not cause embarrassment or insult. What seems more questionable is how to refer to them in areas such as tefillah where male and female tefillot are separated such as the prayer for the sick. – DanF Jun 18 '19 at 18:58
  • 1. There's a huge difference if talking in private or in public! 2. The main reason, as I remember, is the prohibition of accidental closeness as a result of confusion. – Al Berko Jun 18 '19 at 22:59
  • We have two "transgender" options from the Gemmorah - androgynous (both attributes) and TumTum (none). Your question can be simply rephrased of how do we address them. – Al Berko Jun 19 '19 at 14:57
  • @AlBerko That is an interesting question, but not the one asked here. Knowing how to address a Tumtum and Androgynous, would have little relevance in dealing with addressing a transgender person, given that many of them do not fit into either of those two categories biologically. – Silver Jun 20 '19 at 18:12

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