An Orthodox Jew from Manchester who transitioned from a man to a woman has finally ended her legal battle to see her five children.
The decision brings to an end a long-running and ultimately heart-breaking case in which she fought their children’s mother, who had argued that the Orthodox community would shun the youngsters if they saw their biological father as a woman.
While strict media limits are still in-place, a judge this week said the case could now be reported as having ended.
The transgender woman, from north Manchester’s Charedi community, has not seen her children since 2015, and had argued in court that she could be “sensitively reintroduced to them,” after an earlier ruling said contact should be by “letter only”.
Mr Justice Hayden, based in the family division of the High Court in London, drew the litigation to a close on Monday after the woman’s lawyers said she had decided to withdraw her application for an order allowing her to see her children.
Hayden was sitting to reconsider the case, after the woman successfully appealed an earlier ruling which stated that the children should not see her, and that contact should instead be by exchange of letters.
Hayden acknowledged that contact with the children may be “emotionally harmful” to them and said he hoped the “courageous” family could move on.
The issue is a sore one. In 2018 Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis produced a schools guide with Jewish LGBT+ group Keshet which recognised “the reality that there are young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in our schools to whom we have a duty of care”.
While many welcomed it, some Orthodox critics berated Mirvis for his intervention, with senior Charedi rabbis such as Jerusalem-based Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch calling it “blasphemy”.