Man Begat Woman
Immigrant communities survive on keeping the old ways together. Those that abide by the temple will be supported by the temple and its community. Some times the rules that bind the community together are not the rules of the host community. If a wife strays, the family may have to take dramatic action. If a youth prefers the ways of the host country he may find he is excluded. If any kind of homosexual or trans gender tendency is spotted then the community closes ranks and says goodbye.
Many object to the Muslims obeying sharia before common law and all the baggage that goes with that observance. But lets be fair. The Muslims are not alone in wanting their cultural cake and eating it. Last week the Family Court(aka enemies of the people?) gave judgement on a case within the Jewish Orthodox community.
Its an every day story of ghetto folk. Rubin loves Sharon(not real names),well as much as any arranged marriage couples can love each other. Which in fact, is quite a lot, as much as any romantically met couple. He wears hats and ringlets, she wigs and woollen stockings,they obey the Torah’s laws and live like anyone else would in a Yiddish speaking 19th century Ukrainian slum. No bacon, no swearing, no lookee,no nookee,or some such. They have five children(2-12),a key part of the Orthodox faith in any religion is big families and being (within the rules) devoted to said same.
But Rubin has a problem. Although his community is rooted in time very much past his sexuality is here and very much now. He wants to be a woman. Thats difficult in many cultures. but getting easier in ours. But not in the Orthodox world. He must leave the family home which he did two years ago. But what about the children,can he see them on a regular basis. He argues as a transgender dad he has rights, Sharon says if Rubin/Ruth turns up then all the neighbours will draw the blinds, the synagogue will be closed, expulsion from schools will follow,the life enhancing networks cut off. In terms of the community they will be dead.
The case hears that other children from broken homes have been cast out from the community and made to live in a world that eats bacon and doesn’t wear silly hats. The children of a transgender dad would be doomed to travel into a nether world which does not pray three times a day. Crucially child psychiatrists opine “the children’s identity is completely bound up with their place in the community.” The 12 year old son states”If my father cares, he will leave me alone.”
The case moves deeper into surreal territory when the man who became a woman offers to dress as a man on family visits. At some point you have to laugh.
The Family Court ruled with or without trousers that that any direct contact would be unfair on the children and the transgender dad must be restricted to four times a year letters with his children.
Well its not honour killing but it is our judges saying that the passionate cohesion of minority groups is more important than the general law. As we say in the BLT community, sex change is not for wimps.