A transgender woman should not be allowed to see her children, a family court judge has ruled, because her status could lead to ostracism by an Orthodox Jewish community.
The male-to-female transgender woman is thought to be the first to leave the Haredi community following her transition. Haredim (also spelled Charedim) make up a loosely affiliated branch of orthodox Judaism. She had five children with her estranged wife and after leaving the community spent months trying to see them.
But the wife resisted her efforts, arguing via her counsel in court that if her former spouse was allowed contact with the children they would be ostracised by their friends and neighbours. Orthodox rabbis spoke for the former husband, meanwhile, insisting that Judaism had no such teaching about transgender people.
Despite this, Mr Justice Peter Jackson felt the risk was still too great to allow ‘direct’ (face to face) contact between the children and the transgender parent.
“Weighing up the profound consequences for the children’s welfare of ordering or not ordering direct contact with their father, I have reached the unwelcome conclusion that the likelihood of the children and their mother being marginalised or excluded by the ultra-orthodox community is so real, and the consequences so great, that this one factor, despite its many disadvantages, must prevail over the many advantages of contact.”
However, the Judge went on to explain that he believed the children would adapt to their father’s new life, with support, because children in general are “goodhearted and adaptable”.
“The truth is that for the children to see their father would be too much for the adults”.
The transgender parent was instead to be restricted to writing the children letters four times a year.
Read the full ruling here.
Photo by Jean-François Chénier via Flickr