M-to-F Professor Riles Jewish University
A male professor at a Jewish University who had been place on leave returned to class after two years away--now looking like and living as a woman.
The story, carried in the Sept. 8 edition of the New York Post, reported that Joy Ladin (who had been Jay Ladin) had told the Yeshiva University administration in 2006 that she was planning to transition to female, and had been placed on indefinite leave.
Ladin had been on the faculty for three years at the time, and had received tenure only weeks before making the announcement, the article said.
Ladin returned to work at the New York university dressed as a woman and with visible feminine attributes.
However, according to the article, Ladin is not yet entirely through the process of transitioning to a woman; citing an unpublished manuscript titled Inside Out: Confessions of a Woman Caught in the Act of Becoming, a partially-written memoir authored by Ladin, the article indicated that Ladin required further surgery to complete her transition.
Though neither the professor nor Yeshiva University’s administration commented, the Post quoted a professor of biology and medical ethics, Rabbi Moshe Tendler, who said, "He’s not a woman. He’s a male with enlarged breasts."
Continued Tendler, who also serves as a dean at the university’s rabbinical school, "He’s a person who represents a kind of amorality which runs counter to everything Yeshiva University stands for. There is just no leeway in Jewish law for a transsexual."
Added Rabbi Tendler, "There is no niche where he can hide out as a female without being in massive violation of Torah law, Torah ethics and Torah morality."
After two years of leave, Ladin was able to resume her responsibilities at Yeshiva, reportedly because of legal reasons.
Said an unnamed member of the university faculty, "They didn’t have a choice unless they wanted to be embroiled in a legal battle."
Ladin, the article said, had already been through one legal process, when her wife divorced her and left with the couple’s children.
The Post article claimed that there are concerns at the university that Ladin’s transition could hurt alumni contributions.
However, the article also quoted a couple of alumna, both of whom expressed support for the professor.
Said Sarah Rindner, who had taken classes with Ladin and is now pursuing a career of her own as an educator, "This is great news, and I’m sure the university won’t regret it."
Another former student of Ladin’s, Shayndi Raice Sigall, was quoted as saying, "There are transgender people all over the world, and this is a wonderful opportunity for the school to show students firsthand how you can respect and learn from someone who might be different from you."
Mara Keisling, the National Center for Transgender Equality’s executive director, said, "I think it’s fabulous and wonderful."
The president of Yeshiva University, Richard Joel, was quoted as saying, "I’m proud of my university and all my faculty."
New York state has laws in place to protect transgendered workers, but, said Keisling, "I don’t know of any other religiously conservative university that employs someone trans."