Trans*Awareness Week to feature author Joy Ladin, Nov. 20

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 7, 2014 — As part of the University of Rhode Island’s Trans*Awareness Week 2014, transgender author and Yeshiva University Professor Joy Ladin will speak Thursday, Nov. 20 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Norman M. Fain Hillel Center, 6 Fraternity Circle, Kingston. Her presentation and discussion will be followed by a light dinner and will end with a short vigil in honor of Trans*Day of Remembrance.

Sponsored and organized by URI’s LGBTQ Center and URI Hillel, the program is free and open to the public with advance registration. Register by email to Amy Olson at Hillel, amyolson@mail, or to Annie Kosar at the LGBTQ Center,

At URI, Ladin will describe the journey through which she has become the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. Having received tenure as a man, she returned to Yeshiva University as a woman and holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English.

Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award, and winner of a Forward Fives award. She was also named to the 2012 Forward 50 list of influential or courageous American Jews. Ladin is also the author of six books of poetry, including Psalms and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration; her seventh collection, Impersonation, is due out in 2015.

“After I heard Joy speak last year in Providence, I knew it would be great to have her at URI,” said Olson, executive director of URI Hillel. “Her candor, wit and sense of spirituality make her an enormously engaging presenter. She helps to de-mystify the transgender experience and opens the door to a discussion that many students have never had the opportunity to participate in before.”

Ladin’s work has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship and an American Council of Learned Societies research fellowship. She has spoken about gender identity issues around the country, and was featured on National Public Radio’s “On Being” with Krista Tippett and other NPR programs. She serves on the Board of Keshet, a national organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world.

In Through the Door of Life, Ladin takes readers inside her transition as she changed genders and, in the process, created a new self. With unsparing honesty and surprising humor, Ladin wrestles with both the practical problems of gender transition and the larger moral, spiritual, and philosophical questions that arise. Ladin recounts her struggle to reconcile the pain of her experience living as the “wrong” gender with the pain of her children in losing the father they love. Ladin’s poignant memoir takes readers from the death of living as the man she knew she wasn’t, to the shattering of family and career that accompanied her transition, to the new self, relationships, and love she finds when she opens the door of life.

For more information about other Trans*Awareness Week programs at URI, visit