Jewish trans woman loses right to see five children from before transition

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A trans woman has lost a court battle to be allowed to see her children after leaving an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and transitioning.

The woman, who kept her identity a secret during the court proceedings, had said she wanted to be “sensitively re-introduced” to her children.

She had not seen the children since before she left the Charedi Jewish community 18 months prior.

But her estranged wife said seeing her post transition could lead them to be alienated from within the community.

Family court judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson has said he reached the decision “with real regret”.

Handing down his decision, the judge said: “I can see no way in which the children could escape the adult reaction to them enjoying anything like an ordinary relationship with their father.

“In the final analysis, the gulf between these parents – the mother within the ultra-Orthodox community and the father as a transgender person – is too wide for the children to bridge.

“This outcome is not a failure to uphold transgender rights, still less a ‘win’ for the community, but the upholding of the rights of the children to have the least harmful outcome in a situation not of their making.”

Mr Justice Jackson had said the outcome was best for the children, aged between two and 12.

He had heard testimony from both parents, and analysed evidence about Jewish law and custom.

The oldest boy was also met by the judge.

“Their parents’ marriage ended in June 2015, when their father left home to live as a transgender person,” Mr Justice Jackson said.

“She now lives as a woman and has had no contact with the children since she left.

“Her outward identity was of course male when she was at home and she retains that identity in the minds of the children, and indeed in the mind of the community.”

He continued: “The reason why the father has had no contact with the children is to be found in the attitude of the community to people in her position.”