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Joy Ladin, Finding Her True Self June 04, 2015
Before Caitlyn Jenner, there was Joy Ladin. Joy is the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish university, and Maureen’s 2009 conversation with her remains one of our most memorable. Back in 2007, when the tenured English professor informed Yeshiva University that she would be transitioning her gender, the school first responded by putting her on indefinite leave. Hers is a story of a poet, a Jew, and above all, a woman—in her own words, "caught in the act of becoming."

Joy Ladin, English professor at Yeshiva University and author of Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders

A poem from her newest book of poetry, Impersonation:

Somewhat After Puberty

Novice knitter, knit with us.  
Your odyssey of transformation
deserves sashes and broaches, extra needles, florals and coral strands.

How many years has it taken?
Wiggle the steering wheel, shift the transmission,
beg and borrow whatever you need
to finally take possession
of your first-person pronouns.
The divorce is finally over.
It's time to feel forgiven
for the unsightliness of adolescing
somewhat after puberty,

for the pain your ex and children feel
watching your long-dammed water flow
from soil into blossom.  

Soul and body have begun to knit, to kiss.
Novice knitter, bride-to-be –
Step into the goddess.