Trans Woman Barred From Seeing Children After Being Exiled From Ultra-Orthodox Community

The children's mother argued they'd be ostracized if others knew they had contact.

A British judge has ruled that a trans woman needs to stay away from her children, or else they’ll be ostracized from the Orthodox Jewish community their mother is still part of.

The children’s biological mother, called “B.” in court papers, rejected allowing her ex, “J.” having contact to their five children, who live with her in a fundamentalist Haredi community in Manchester. While there are different rules and codes of conduct, most Haredi neighborhoods are extremely insular and hold values largely unchanged since the 19th century.

B. argued that just having contact with J. would lead to extreme social isolation of her and her children by parents, teachers, and others in the neighborhood.

Adam Jones

According to the New Statesman, Judge Peter Jackson agreed “that the likelihood of the children and their mother being marginalized 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.”

As a result J. will only be able to write letters to them four times a year.

B. told about other men who left the community and how their children were turned away from the local Jewish school. Another witness testified about a 15-year-old girl forced to move schools after being sexually abused.

Judge Jackson admitted that his ruling was a “bleak conclusion” for “others facing these issues in fundamentalist communities,” and that such practices “amount to unlawful discrimination,” though his ruling provides a legal precedent for such behavior to continue.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.