RELIGION

The Way This Jewish Transgender Teen's Religious Community Loves Him Is Absolutely Beautiful

03/26/2015 10:35 am ET | Updated Mar 26, 2015
David Silverman via Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — Tom Chai Sosnik stood in front of his eighth-grade class, flecks of rainbow colored hair visible beneath his blue yarmulke, as he was wrapped in a tallit for the very first time. His classmates stood and chanted together, “Baruch HaBah [“Welcome”]” three times, and then ran forward, enveloping him in a big, messy hug. Tom’s transition was complete, but unlike what you may have expected, it was not one from boy to man, but rather from girl to boy.

You may recognize the name Tom Sosnik — the transgender teenager whose “coming out” speech went viral after being posted on Facebook by his family on March 16. Since then, it has been viewed more than 61,000 times and has been reposted by such national media sites as The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan magazine and Out magazine. Tom is being hailed as a “hero” in the transgender community, praised for his articulateness and his sincere sense of self.

“I am no longer Mia, I never really was,” he says in the video, as he stands in the beit midrash, Hebrew for “house of study,” at Tehiyah Day School, in El Cerrito, California. “Now I finally stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity as Tom. If you support me, I’ll feel like the luckiest boy in the world.”

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