Right to be parents
ISRAEL loves to boast to the world about its purportedly positive attitude toward the LGBT community, but there is growing evidence of the the ways in which the country in fact discriminates against members of this community.
Just recently, the state reiterated its discriminatory stance on adoption and surrogacy by same-sex couples, and it now turns out that the social welfare authoritiesare barring or limiting contact by transgender parents with their children after the parents have undergone sex reassignment.
There are at least 10 known cases in which parents have been limited or barred from contact with their children, but LGBT organisations and lawyers involved in the field estimate the number to be higher. In some of the cases, transgender parents are only allowed to see their children at “contact centres.”
In other instances, the children are taken to foster care and in still others, custody of the children is granted to the other non-transgender parent.
Discrimination against transgender parents is just one type of discrimination that transgender individuals experience.
Another expression of this has been the state’s insistence that the gender of a transgender man who delivered a baby be temporarily recorded as female, to register him as the parent in the absence of a special approval procedure prior to the birth.
In broader terms, the state’s policies regarding transgender citizens require changes. Many limitations are imposed on access to sex reassignment surgery for individuals interested in such operations. The chief social worker on legal issues at the Social Affairs Ministry did the right thing in stating transgender identity does infringe on full parental rights – but that is not enough.
The ministry should make it clearan individual’s gender identity does not disqualify a person from being a parent. A policy of equality should be adopted on all matters related to gender identity.