According to an article by My Jewish Learning there are eight genders in the Talmud which is a huge and authoritative compendium of Jewish legal traditions which include: the Zachar male; the Nekevah female; the Androgynos having both male and female characteristics; the Tumtum lacking sexual characteristics; the Aylonit hamah identified female at birth but later naturally developing male characteristics; the Aylonit adam identified female at birth but later developing male characteristics through human intervention; the Saris hamah identified male at birth but later naturally developing female characteristics and Saris adam identified male at birth and later developing female characteristics through human intervention.
I do not know if this has led The New York Times to publish an opinion article titled: “Ancient Judaism Recognized a Range of Genders. It’s Time We Did Too” as part of the mainstream media agenda to promote the LGBTIQA+ agenda. (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/18/opinion/trans-teen-suicide-judaism.html)
However this article has drawn a lot of criticism from Orthodox Jews which was reported by the JNS (Jewish News Syndicate) which I am quoting here in its entirety:
“Ancient Judaism Recognized a Range of Genders. It’s Time We Did Too.” So reads the headline of a March 18 New York Times guest essayby Elliot Kukla whose website states that he provides “radical spiritual care” and was “the first openly transgender rabbi to be ordained by a mainstream denomination ” the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.”
“The uniform resource locator (url) that the Times uses for the article contains the publication date and “trans-teen-suicide-judaism.”“
“In my own tradition Judaism our most sacred texts reflect a multiplicity of gender ” Kukla wrote eight paragraphs into the op-ed. “This part of Judaism has mostly been obscured by the modern binary world until very recently.”
“In a review of some rabbinic literature Kukla wrote that the “ancient Jewish world” designated a baby as a boy girl tumtum androgynos aylonit and saris.”
“There is not an exact equivalence between these ancient categories and modern gender identities. Some of these designations are based on biology some on a person’s role in society ” wrote Kukla. “But they show us that people who are more than binary have always been recognized by my religion. We are not a fad.”
‘Need to promote false impression’
The author and publication drew sharp criticism from Orthodox Jews.
“The New York Times has taken a break from bashing Jews to distort Judaism to push a radical ideology. But anyone who has a basic knowledge of Jewish law knows that this is absolutely false ” tweetedJason Bedrick a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Citing the reference to “Male and female He created them” in Genesis 1:27 Bedrick wrote: “Judaism recognizes two sexes period. … Jewish law also recognizes the existence of several aberrations. All relate to physical traits that are not chosen.”
““The tumtum androgynous aylonit and saris are not genders. ‘Gender’ was not even a concept in the Talmud separate from biological sex ” he added.“
“Once extra flesh is removed from the tumtum the child’s sex is revealed and the androgynos is a hermaphrodite “or what today we would call ‘intersex.’ This is a very rare condition that is an aberration but not a separate sex or gender itself ” wrote Bedrick. An aylonit remains female although her “secondary sex characteristics do not develop usually rendering her infertile ” he added and “a saris is a male who has been castrated (a eunuch) or who otherwise had his male sex organ physically damaged or not develop.””
““Note that castration is against Jewish law ” said Bedrick.”
“Not only do the four refer to physical conditions rather than genders as understood today but it is “ridiculous that The New York Times wants to use the Talmud’s recognition of sexual deformities to push transgenderism when the Torah itself very clearly forbids cross-dressing and castration (what’s today euphemistically called ‘gender-affirming surgery’) ” he wrote.”
“Bedrick noted he was not arguing that secular U.S. law should follow Jewish law but that the Times is distorting Jewish law. “Let’s at least be honest about what Jewish law says if we want to talk about it ” he wrote.”
“Hey look it’s the New York Times publishing a bunch of nonsensical garbage and pretending it’s actually reflective of Jewish law and philosophy!” added conservative commentator Ben Shapiro on Twitter. “Nowhere does halacha humor the notion that a biological man can be a woman or that he should be treated as one.”
“It’s not enough for The New York Times to push a radical agenda. They also need to promote the false impression that Judaism supports it ” tweeted Joel M. Petlin superintendent of the Kiryas Joel School District. “I look forward to seeing The New York Times opinion pages also publishing a strong rebuttal such as the one presented by Jason Bedrick.”