Transgender woman May Peleg has dying wish to be cremated granted
A JERUSALEM court has granted the wish of an Israeli transgender woman who committed suicide to be cremated, over the opposition of her ultra-Orthodox mother.
In a ruling the court called for the “wishes to be respected” of the late May Peleg and for her body to be transferred to a crematorium.
Her lawyer, Yossi Wolfson, said the family had until Sunday to appeal against the ruling.
The legal battle has highlighted the uneasy relationship between Israel’s commitment to gay rights and its ultra-Orthodox Jews, who abide by a strict religious lifestyle.
Peleg, a 31-year-old who served as head of the executive committee of Jerusalem’s Open House LGBT community centre, committed suicide last weekend. She had long been estranged from her family.
LGBT ties ... May Peleg’s ties to her community were stronger than her family ties. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied
Troubled life ... May Peleg will be cremated as she requested. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied
Before her death, Peleg put together a will that specified she wanted to be cremated, but her mother asked the court to halt it because both suicide and cremation are not allowed in the Jewish faith.
“There are reasonable grounds for concern that if my body reaches my biological mother’s hands she will subject me to a religious burial, with Judaism not recognising me as a woman, even though I’ve undergone sex change surgery. This constitutes a lack of respect and an erasure of my identity,” she wrote.
Peleg was born a man and underwent surgery to become a woman after having been married and divorced. She had two children from the marriage.
Wolfson said the case involved “the question of knowing what prevails: blood ties, which attach May Peleg to the (ultra-Orthodox) community, or those that she chose, the world of the LGBT community.”
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