Joy Ladin

United States

Joy Ladin is the first openly transgender professor to teach at an Orthodox Jewish institution. Ladin holds the David and Ruth Guttesman Chair in English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University.

Ladin received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2000, her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1995 and her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York in 1982.

After receiving tenure in 2006, she opted for gender reassignment because she knew her job was secure with the tenure. In 2007, Ladin transitioned, changed her first name from Jay to Joy, and divorced the mother of her children, Christine Benvenuto, whom she had been with for more than twenty years. When she came out, Yeshiva University put her on leave. While on leave, she taught poetry at her alma mater Sarah Lawrence College.

In 2009, Ladin published the poetry collection “Transmigration,” her first poetry collection published under the name Joy.

In April 2011, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America held a Yom Iyyun, or day of learning, about LGBTQ issues and their intersection with Judaism. Among other things, Ladin gave a talk about her life there.

In 2012, Ladin published the memoir “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders.”

As of 2012, she has published five books of poetry and one memoir.

Ladin was a finalist for the 2009 Lambda Literary Award. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry and received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. She was a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Tel Aviv University in 2012. 

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