Skip To Content

British Judge Forbids Transgender Ultra-Orthodox Mom from Contact With Her Children

In the New Statesman, Etan Smallman reports on an tragic — and evidently unprecedented* — case in Manchester, England. A judge, Peter Jackson, ruled that a trans woman parent cannot see her five children because her estranged wife is part of the Haredi community there, and the family might be ostracized if a second mother, a transgender one at that, made an appearance:

“He said he had ‘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.’”

Smallman gives examples suggesting the judge did not exactly pull these fears out of thin air, but argues that it’s “possible that the claims of ostracism were overblown.”

Smallman cuttingly — and accurately, in my view — refers to the decision as “heartening news for the leaders of insular communities looking to expel transgender or other ‘transgressive’ people – or better still, to deter them from ‘coming out’ in the first place.”

*”The father said last year that she was almost certainly the first transgender person to have left one of Britain’s Charedi communities [.]”

Phoebe Maltz Bovy edits the Sisterhood, and can be reached at [email protected]. Her book, The Perils of “Privilege”, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2017.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.