Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lashon harah:Outing the transgendered?

NYTIMES The Ethicist

I am a straight woman, and I was set up on a date with a man. We got along well initially, but I grew concerned about how evasive he was about his past. I did some sophisticated checking online — I do research professionally — and discovered that he is a female-to-male transgender ed individual. I then ended our relationship. He and I live in Orthodox Jewish communities.  (I believe he converted shortly after he became a man.) I think he continues to date women within our group. Should I urge our rabbi to out this person? [...]


  1. Randy cohen is the LAST person to go to for ethical issues. The fact the NY Times calls him their ethicist, is a good sign he is anything but.

    He has displayed an anto-Orthodox enmity on more than one occasion in the past. This Sunday's column was actually not as bad as some previous ones.

  2. Um, does he even have the din of a man? Could "his" kiddushin actually be chal?

  3. This is obviously once again the Ethicist venting his disrespect towards Judaism. Could you even imagine a real Orthodox person going to him to ask this question, instead of to a Rabbi?
    Cohen has a history of running "innocent" questions that give him an opening for ranting against Orthodoxy.

    Yossi Ginzberg

  4. Funny, my brother-in-law had a somewhat similar experience. He is frum and now married. When he was single, he lived in an apartment in a well-known frum neighborhood in NY. He had a roommate, who then left to get married. When he advertised for a new roommate, one response was by a frum "man" who seemed kind of odd. He did some background research and discovered that he had in fact been born a she.

    If exposing such a person is not le toeles I don't know what is. A woman who dates such a person can become very emotionally involved and can be quite hurt when she discovers the truth. Marrying or even rooming with such a person can involve severe issurim. The persons doing this are a fraud and should be exposed as such.

  5. I haven't read Sefer Dor Tahapuchot or even skimmed it, but perhaps it's best to see what halacha dictates regarding this subject before blasting such people in public.

    while i too may be uncomfortable with the idea i still would hesitate to speak hurtful words without due diligence and guidance from a posek knowledgable in this area.

  6. Randy Cohen is one of the dumbest people writing in our generation. The only serious challenge to that statement I know of is that he managed to get himself a NYT column & hold it from time immemorial, but that probably just says more about the rag than him.

    You would be well advised to read Jonathan Rosenblum's excellent rebuttal of perhaps one of the stupidest displays of "ethical" pondering you're likely ever to read:

    Here's the, um, "Ethicist" -

    and here's Mr. Rosenblum's reply -


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