By Taylor Gleeson, NFTY Social Action Vice President 2015-2016
Last weekend, 150 Jewish teens from across North America came together at URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, New York, for NFTY’s annual leadership training event, Mechina. During the weekend, representatives from all of NFTY’s 19 regions joined, prayed, and discussed together in preparation for their upcoming years of leadership in their regions.
On Sunday, the leaders came together for the biannual general assembly, Asefah, where the representatives from the 19 regions listened to regional reports and voted on critical legislation. One resolution on the table was a “Resolution Regarding Preferred Gender Pronouns on Nametags” which resolved that “at any NFTY North American event, participants will be given the opportunity to include their preferred pronouns on their nametags, and… are encouraged to introduce themselves with their preferred gender pronouns.” The resolution passed and will help ensure the full inclusion of teens, regardless of their gender identities, during NFTY North American events.
The resolution will be implemented for the first time when general board convenes next winter at the URJ’s Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) in Wisconsin. In addition, the resolution encouraged the 19 regions of NFTY to adopt similar policies at their own events, as the NFTY leadership hopes that this resolution will resonate in those regions and temples throughout the course of this upcoming year
NFTY is very committed towards working towards equality for people of all genders and sexual orientations and just finished up a year of education and programming specifically focused on the 2014-2015 NFTY action theme, “Shivyon: Gender and Sexuality Equality.” Building on a history of speaking out in favor of gay rights in 1984, passing legislation to support marriage equality in 2003, and unanimously reaffirming this in 2013, the passage of the gender inclusive resolution is an important step in ensuring inclusion for all teens.