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Joy and Resilience: Jewish LGBTQ Leaders on What Sustains Us – Talia Johnson

May 27, 2020


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As LGBTQ Jewish people, we have often been put in situations where we need to create our own ways of persevering through tough moments. Surviving and thriving in this world has pushed us to create our own store of unique wisdom about resilience, joy, and community.

Join us for a weekly series of thoughtful conversations with LGBTQ Jews about what sustains us and keeps us hopeful.

These pre-recorded conversations will be  available on Facebook and YouTube.

This week, we will be speaking to Talia Johnson:

Photograph of Talia JohnsonTalia Johnson is a Jewish ritual and service leader, writer, poet, sensitivity editor, public speaker, workshop facilitator,  educator, mentor, coach, and activist. She is a woman who is, in no particular order, an out queer autistic lesbian trans woman. Talia is Chair of the Board of Directors for Heartspark Press, a press run by and for trans women and assigned male at birth non-binary folk. She is part of the leadership team of Autistics for Autistics Ontario. She is co-editor of the Nothing Without Us anthology of own voices Disability fiction released in September 2019.

Talia is the first transgender woman to be ordained a Kohenet (Hebrew priestess) through the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute receiving smicha in August 2019. Her full priestess title is Kohenet Talia C. Johnson, Shomeret ha Tzitzit (Guardian of the Fringes). Talia’s work as a Kohenet is directly related to her experience as a transgender woman and her academic studies. Her focus is on Judaism, queer/trans/LGBTQIA, and mental health. Her work in these areas bridge mental health, spirituality, and LGBTQIA+/queer/trans spaces, areas which are usually independent silos. In January 2016 Talia was awarded a full scholarship to attend WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) Professional Training. She has been an activist in various ways for most of her life. Her first words were, apparently, “That’s not fair!”