Haifa Rabbinical court forces transgender woman to grant wife a get, despite claiming she could not give it because she’s now a woman and women can not give get.
A recent ruling by the Haifa beit din underscores the need for rabbinical courts to reexamine the halachic status of transgender individuals with deference to the individual’s new reality.
In the case before the beit din, an individual who had undergone sexual reassignment surgery to become a woman refused to give her divorcing wife a gett, claiming that she was prohibited from doing so on the basis that a woman cannot give a gett. The individual’s wife requested an annulment of the marriage because the individual was no longer a man. The court denied the request, asserting that despite the surgery, the individual was still halachically a man. The court ordered the individual to give the gett, to which she eventually agreed.
By the court’s reasoning, a transgender man could not be barred from entering a women’s mikvah, as he is still halachically a woman. A mesader kiddushin would have no ostensible basis to refuse to officiate a wedding between the same transgender man and another man, as the former is still halachically a woman. And yet, imagine if either of these scenarios actually materialized. The transgender man would be barred from the women’s mikvah, and would also be barred from marrying another man. The transgender man’s present and former gender would both be denied.