Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths study religious texts at a synagogue in Jerusalem April 7, 2011
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths study religious texts at a synagogue in Jerusalem REUTERS

A family court has ruled that a transgender woman cannot see the five children that she sired when she was a man, deciding that it is not compatible with their mother's ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith. The ruling was issued by Justice Peter Jackson at the family court in Manchester on Monday (30 January).

Barristers acting for the children's mother said that any ties to their father, who is now living as a woman, would lead to them being shunned by their ultra-Orthodox community, according to an Independent report.

The transgender parent has not seen her children for 18 months, after leaving the Manchester Charedi Jewish community.

Orthodox Jewish rabbis acting for the transgender parent contest that Judaisim does not hold with punishing transgender people in this fashion.

However, in his ruling, Justice Jackson decided that the "risk" of the children being rejected by their community was too great to permit contact. The judge thought that the differences between the parents – a mother within the ultra-Orthodox community – and a transgender father was too wide a gulf for the children to bridge.

The mother was against direct contact with the children, believing it would "lead to the children and herself being ostracised by the community to the extent that they may have to leave it," Jackson said.

"Weighing up the profound consequences for the children's welfare of ordering or not ordering direct contact with their father, I have 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."

He added: "I therefore conclude with real regret, knowing the pain that it must cause, that the father's application for direct contact must be refused."

The judge said the ruling was not a "failure to upholdtransgender rights" nor a "win" for the community, according to Jewish News.