Religion Magazine

Transgender Refuses to Give Gett for Presently Being a Woman

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
This is just a crazy item to make the news...
Two women come to the beis din fighting about a divorce. It turns out that one of them had previously been a man before undergoing a sex-change operation. They married as classic husband and wife and raised their children together. When the husband went through his changes, a year ago, the couple separated. The wife could not move on and date and marry anyone else, because she was still halachically married to her "husband" - he/she had not [yet] given his wife a gett.
After hearing the unusual situation, the dayanim decided that this is good reason for granting a gett, and there is no reason to insist on shalom bayis counseling as it clearly won't lead to reconciliation and a happy marriage. The beis din ordered the parties to begin the process of divorce.
The problem was then raised by the "husband" when s/he said that he cannot grant a gett because he is no longer a man but a woman, and a woman is unable to grant a gett.
The wife then requested an annulment of the marriage, but the dayanim said that would not be possible. The dayanim decided that the husband had to give a gett and if he would not he would be considered as a gett refuser and would end up in jail.
After some arguing about the details of their relationship, the dayanim decided that halachically the husband is a man and is obligated to give the gett.
The husband eventually agreed to give the gett, but during the process recanted and explained that s/he was upset that s/he is being related to in the text of the gett as a male. She criticized the beis din for living in the Middle Ages. After being warned again about possibly ending up in jail, s/he agreed to complete the process and give the gett.
source: Ynet
fascinating. Whatever the exact details of the case are (Ynet is not reliable to get the details and halachic aspects correct), the debate and potential ramifications are just fascinating. I know that the Tzitz Eliezer has a different position on the matter of transgender people and considers the possibility of considering them as their new gender, but I am not sure he comes to a definitive conclusion. In the few shiurim I have heard on the matter, the general consensus is that halachically there is no such thing as a sex change and the Tzitz Eliezer is only referenced in limited situations.
In the article they say that it seems this is the first time such a case, of a transgender coming to give a gett in beis din, has ever happened. Perhaps this will open up the debate and discussion and help things get clarified in society. In the meantime, much pain can be avoided if people in such situations would deal with this in advance...
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