Cape Times

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.

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