Trans woman abandons court fight for the right to see her ultra-Orthodox Jewish children

Vic Parsons January 21, 2020
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The Royal Courts of Justice, which house the High Court of England and Wales, where the judicial review was heard. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

A trans woman has abandoned her legal battle to see her five children, who she hasn’t seen since leaving an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in 2015.

The woman, named in legal proceedings as J, left the north Manchester Haredi Jewish community to begin living as a woman.

She is now estranged from her wife and five children, and had been fighting a family court case to be “sensitively reintroduced” to the children.

J’s estranged wife had warned that allowing the children to see her would lead to them being ostracised and rejected from their ultra-Orthodox community.

Abandoning the case, J said it would be “emotionally harmful” to the children for her to keep pursuing her legal fight to have contact with them.

Trans woman ends legal fight to see her Jewish children.

The now-abandoned legal battle had been ongoing for four years.

After leaving the tight-knit Haredi Jewish community, J’s attempts to see her children were repeatedly ignored or rebuffed.

J said in court hearings that she missed her children, and would accept any contact conditions, including presenting as “male” as possible when meeting them.

She also said she understood the ultra-Orthodox community’s rejection of her, believing that she is the first trans person to have left a Haredi community in the UK.

“They have to get rid of me – I have sympathy with that,” she said.

In a February 2017 ruling, Mr Justice Peter Jackson refused J’s application to have direct contact with her children, saying: “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.”

“I therefore conclude with real regret, knowing the pain it must cause, that the father’s application for direct contact must be refused,” the ruling said.

J appealed the ruling, with the appeals court calling her case “stark, deeply saddening and extremely disturbing”. Later that year, in December 2017, she won the right to have her case reviewed in the High Court.

As of Monday (January 20), J’s application for an order allowing her to have contact with the children has been withdrawn.


Related topics: Family Court, ultra-Orthodox Jew

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