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The procedures that create a synthetic penis and scrotum (metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, and scrotoplasty), however, are not really comparable to castration. Surgical Transition as Definitive Halakhic Transition Once the surgery is done, the question becomes, what sex the person is post-surgery, halakhically speaking.Although attempts have been made to define people’s sex in halakha by their genotypic sex, little support for this can be found in the sources. The closest thing to a genotypic argument in classical rabbinic literature is the rabbis’ definition of a castrated person as male.If a male transitions to a female and has a vulva and no penis or scrotum, to me it seems counterintuitive to claim that penetration of said person’s vagina by a male should be considered .
In such cases, loss of a penis should not be considered definitive of the person’s gender, but this is very different from cases of sex reassignment surgery.As challenging as being transgender already is in the larger world, Orthodox Judaism poses some unique challenges.In this essay, I will outline some of these challenges and suggest ways of ameliorating or solving the problems.My goal is to stimulate thought about how to integrate transgender Jews who wish to be part of the Orthodox world, into our shuls and our communities in as seamless a manner as possible. Clarifying our Terminology Since discussions of liminal or non-binary sexual identities can get confusing, and since there is no absolute agreement on terminology, I would like to define my terms up front.When discussing a person’s gender identity, at least six things can be meant.