God Created Many Genders — Just Ask the Rabbis

So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27, Amplified Bible)

This verse is often used against transgender and gender expansive/diverse people. Bigots wave this back and forth, claiming it is proof that the gender binary was ordained by God. But is that true? Remember, these Scriptures belonged to Jewish folk long before White European Christians absorbed and abused them. So what do the rabbis have to say?

Male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

G‑d created the first man as a two-sided creature — one face male, and one face female. He then hewed him in two and made a back for each half. (Midrash Rabbah)

Only later, in the process described in Chapter Two, are the two halves separated in order to form freestanding male and female human beings. In other words, there is no hierarchy between the male and female, no temporal gap separating them in creation, no special measure of Divine attention accorded to a man formed first and thus deemed primary in the scheme of things. Instead, we have an account of a human being, a male/female creature, formed and fashioned to be the crown of creation, beloved of the Creator and guided by His word, complete in every respect and lacking only the individuality which discreteness confers. (“Bereishit | The Creation of Man and Woman,” by Rav Michael Hattin)

What? This is some newfangled liberal stuff, right? Nope.

Some of the first midrashim were compiled around the fifth century CE. And before that, rabbinic Judaism was taught orally.

(Side note: It’s pronounced “Jew-da-ism” — not “Judy-ism.” You’re talking about a religion, not the worship of Judy Garland.)

What is a midrash and why does it matter? This page tells it best:

The Mishnah teaches the oral traditions by example, presenting actual cases being brought to judgment, usually along with (i) the debate on the matter, and (ii) the judgment that was given by a notable rabbi based on halakha, mitzvot, and spirit of the teaching (“Torah”) that guided his decision. (Times Mojo: “When Was The Mishnah Written And What Does It Contain?“)

Overall, Judaism has recognized eight genders for a long time. So this idea that the so-called “Judeo-Christian” beliefs in America uphold an exclusive male/female natural gender binary is a lie.

Let us pray:

God, you love diversity. We see it in all of Creation around us. Help us to toss aside this unnatural binary and embrace ourselves as you made us. Amen