Transgendered woman barred from Jewish Western Wall holy site in Jerusalem

The Jewish holy site is segregated by gender

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The Independent Online

A woman has been turned away from a Jewish holy site in Jerusalem after attendants refused to let her in.

Kay Long, a stylist from Tel Aviv, tried to visit the gender-segregated Western Wall with a friend.

She was turned away from both the women’s and men’s sections of the wall after attendants refused to recognise her as either male or female on account of her being transgendered.

“When I got to the women’s section of the Western Wall, there was someone at the entrance and she didn’t allow me to enter,” she told the Times of Israel newspaper.

“I told her she can’t decide who is a woman and who isn’t. But I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I decided to leave. I went to the men’s area because that’s where my friend was, but they also yelled at me not to come near, that the woman’s section was on the other side.”

The Western Wall, sometimes identified by the derogatory term ‘Wailing Wall’, is a segment of wall near the Jewish temple at Temple Mount.

The site is one of the holiest in the Jewish religion and has been a site of prayer and pilgrimage for centuries.

The person who banned Ms Long from the female side of the wall is believed to have been a self-appointed “modesty volunteer” who was not associated with the administration of the wall.

Their role is to ensure that women are dressed to the Orthodox standards deemed acceptable by the volutneers.

“The Western Wall is really for everyone, and it’s my right to go there,” Ms Long said afterwards. “I learned from a young age that anyone can go there and put a note in the Wall.”

A spokesperson for Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who is in charge of the Western Wall, told the newspaper he was unaware of the incident and therefore could not comment.

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