Court: Transsexual woman can't see child

By Tal Eitan
Yediot Achronot/Ynet - Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Woman who underwent sex-change operation appeals to High Court of Justice after Rabbinic Court cancels prior alimony agreement; appeal rejected

The High Court of Justice rejected Monday an appeal made by a transsexual woman who demanded to cancel a prior Rabbinic Court decision which prevents her from meeting her nine-year-old daughter.

The judges decided that the woman, who was born as a male and underwent a sex-change operation a few years ago, did not utilize all the available legal procedures to the fullest. Her lawyer, Yonatan De-Paris, vowed to study the court's decision.

The affair began four years ago when the woman, then still a man, decided to divorce after five years of marriage. The two ex-partners reached an alimony agreement and agreed on a settlement allowing the petitioner to meet her daughter regularly. According to the agreement, the woman immigrated to Britain and kept a warm relationship with the child.

'Dangerous for child'

But after the sex-change operation the child's biological mother appealed the Rabbinic Court and asked to abrogate the prior agreement. She claimed that the child would be distracted by the massive change and asked the court to disallow the meetings between the girl and the transsexual woman.

She also claimed that it is dangerous for the child to keep going to the meetings. The biological mother also showed a psychological opinion supporting her claims. The court accepted the appeal and prohibited any kind of connection between the transsexual woman and her child.

In their decision, the judges wrote that "the girl went through major changes during her short life period. She needs stability and does not have the ability to accept her father's sex change."

The court also added that the same psychologist already involved in the case would examine "whether the child can handle a direct connection with the father."

The transsexual woman claimed in response that the rabbinic court was disgusted by her operation and decided, as a result, do deny her rights. She appealed to the High Court of Justice but was rejected.

'They don't think of her as human'

Nora Greenberg, a transgender activist and former leader of the Association of Gays, Lesbian, Bisexuals and Transgenders in Israel, said in response: "We are talking about rights that have been crushed by the Rabbinic Court."

"The Higher Court of Justice exists for cases like this, for people who need protection from judicial establishments," Greenberg said. "The meaning of this decision is that the woman needs to go and find some answers with those who do not think of her as human."

Copyright Yediot Achronot/Ynet, 2006
Reprinted without permission