Transgender wedding in New Zealand

June 3, 2015 by Keren Cook
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A transgender Kiwi officially recognised as a woman has married her Israeli love in Auckland.

Elianan and Itamar   Photo: Facebook

Eliana and Itamar Photo: Facebook

Eliana Rubashkyn, 26-years old, arrived to New Zealand in May last year as a refugee. Born in Colombia to Ukrainian parents, Eliana was educated in a mixed Jewish-Catholic religious environment.

New Zealand accepted Rubashkyn’s case as a refugee and granted her asylum extending her a universal recognition of her gender, making her case the first in the world where the new gender of a transgendered person is recognized internationally.

Today, Rubashkyn holds a New Zealand certificate of identity stating her gender as “female” though she had not had sex-change surgery.

Her new husband is a 24-year-old Israeli whom she met on a dating website – today they registered their marriage in Auckland.

“My life is (slowly) coming together, but I think getting married is the best thing ever,” says Miss Rubashkyn.

Her partner, who wants to be known only by his first name Itamar, says his family did not approve of their relationship.

The family threatened to publicly shame him in Israel for “being gay” and wanted to commit him into a psychiatric hospital, he said.

“Itamar had to literally escape from his family and country with just the shirt on his back, just so we can be together,” says Rubashkyn.

Rubashkyn had to ask her mother to pay for Itamar’s ticket to Auckland after his family froze his finances.

“At first I did not share with him about my gender issues because I was afraid of how he will see me.

“But when I finally did, I was overjoyed that he accepted me and continued to love me for who I am,” says Rubashkyn.

As for her husband Itamar – he has left everything behind, including family but he says he has “no regrets because now I am with my true love”.

Arriving into New Zealand wasn’t easy for Itamar. Immigration New Zealand officials at Auckland Airport detained him because they did not think he was a legitimate visitor.

Itamar was questioned for two hours, and only released after an immigration lawyer engaged by Rubashkyn intervened.

He plans to apply for residency under the partnership category to remain in New Zealand now he is married.


26 Responses to “Transgender wedding in New Zealand”
  1. Sam Klein says:

    I agree that everyone should be free to do as they like. Using the word ‘marriage’ which has always described the union between a husband and a wife is debatable, but it is hypocricy to attack Robert Weil if his opinion is not as progressive as some others. If Weil has conservative views that is his right and anyone attacking this right should not preach equality.

    • Michael Barnett says:

      Sam, Robert Weil is welcome to say what he wants and to his own welcome detriment, however bear in mind he is overstepping the mark when 1) he starts defending rabbis who have been proven to have protected and/or not reported paedophiles, 2) starts drawing connections with homosexuality and paediphilia and 3) demeans people in non-heterosexual non-cis-gender relationships.

  2. Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    Kramer carried the title rabbi, he is a despicable person and should carry the guilt of his crimes forever.
    However, the other down under pedophiles we’re not clerics.
    So the thrust of what Robert said is true.

  3. Michael Barnett says:

    A heartwarming story. I got married to my husband in NZ last year. It was the most magical day of my life. We’ve been together nearly 7 years now. I wish you both all the best and hope you get the support of your families some day soon. xx

    • BARRY MOND says:

      What I find interesting Michael, is that like all gays who are “married” one partner refers to the other partner as a husband or a wife.

      Ellen DeGeneres calls Portia Derossi her wife. Yet, Portia won’t call Ellen, her husband. Elton John, like you have, Michael, calls David Furnish his husband, yet I have never heard either David Furnish or Elton himself, refer to Elton, as the wife.

      I also very strongly doubt that if asked, you would refer to yourself as the wife in your relationship.

      That is why, gay “marriage” is such a Hipocricy.

      Gays are looking for marriage equality, because they don’t want to see themselves as different from heterosexuals in the Community.

      “If Heterosexuals can get married, why not allow same sex marriages” they say.

      I do not live in a Utopian fairyland Michael.

      Whether I like it or not, I know that gay unions are inevitable and to be very frank,I have no issue with gay partnerships, or gay unions, or gays having equal rights under the law with Heterosexuals.

      My objection relates to the use of the term marriage to describe such a union.

      Like it or not Michael, as much as we would all love a Utopian world where we are equal in all aspects of our lives, this is not the case.

      The Gay Community are not stupid. They know that when two males or two females join together in a gay marriage, that it would sound and appear totally ridiculous to call each other husband and wife.

      You Michael, to the best of my knowledge are a male, as is Elton John, and referring to you both as wives, would be absolutely nonsensical.

      The fact is, that you both know that, so you don’t do it.

      By all means, have same sex unions, or same sex partnerships, or try and come up with a different name to describe it, a name, that like the word marriage, is unique to the relationship that marriage describes, the union between a man and a woman, calling themselves, husband and wife.

      Until such time as you and Elton John are prepared to call yourselves the wives, and Ellen refers to herself as Portia’s husband, you are making a mockery not only of the term marriage to describe your union, but are displaying incredible Hippocricy in your fight for true equality.

      • Michael Barnett says:

        Barry, it’s widely accepted in society that a married man is called a husband. I doubt many people would argue with that notion.

        In 2015 marriage between two people of the same sex is commonplace and in fact elsewhere in the world has been the norm for at least 20 years. I think it’s time for you to move on from the outdated notion that marriage is only between a man and a women.

        At one point people used the same arguments you present here to deny mixed race marriages. I doubt you’d get far using that line of argument now.

        Rather than mock my marriage and demean what is special to me and my husband, maybe you could just offer us congratulations and wish for ongoing happiness, much like you would for any other recent newlywed couple. That wouldn’t cost you very much, would it?

        Yes, you are right, marriage equality is inevitable in Australia. We’ll all be better of for it. Children who are same-sex attracted or gender diverse will grow up knowing that they can have the same opportunities as those around them who follow a heteronormative life path. They won’t feel marginalised or disadvantaged. They will have the support and blesssings of their families, knowing they can get married to that special person, in the presence of their friends and family, and live a life together as meaningful as any other couple. They may even choose to start a family together, as an increasing number of same-sex couples are doing these days, and in the process, consciously raise children who know they are special to their parents and who were never brought into this world by accident.

        If there is any concern in your head about the children of same-sex couples, let me allay your fears, because increasingly the research is showing that they fare as well as other children and sometimes even do better.

        I hope what I have written helps diminish any concerns you have. I am not out to mock your marriage. I ask for the same in return.

        • BARRY MOND says:

          Well done, Michael.

          Nowhere in my post, do I express whether or not I have any concerns about choosing to start a family, the feelings of their parents, concern about children of same sex couples etc etc.

          Had I done so, your reply to my post, may have had some relevance.

          The fact that racism was and still is in many Countries, rife, and mixed marriages are still frowned upon by some people and cultures, is also totally irrelevant to the point I am making.

          What you did do, however, was avoid the point that I was making, because you know that you don’t have an answer to it.

          You say that “it’s widely accepted in society that a married man is called a husband”. Really? If you hadn’t pointed that out, I would never have guessed.

          Of course, what you then deliberately omitted, was the fact that the other party in a MARRIAGE, is called a wife.

          I said in my post, that I accept that Gay unions and partnerships are inevitable and that I have NO ISSUE with them I deliberately Italicized those two words,because you obviously missed that point the first time around.

          My issue is with the use of the word “marriage” to describe yours and other gay unions.

          Your own words condemn you, if I may use that expression, Michael.You have no problem describing one party as the husband, but refuse to refer to the other party as the wife, and you go off on the usual tangents that people go off on, when they have no logical response to a point that is being made.

          I don’t have an issue with you or your partner being in a gay union/partnership.

          However, the term marriage has been the term used to describe the union between a man and a woman since Adam and Eve walked down the aisle.

          The fact that you and the Gay Community want to hijack the word to describe your own union, is hypocritical, when you refuse to use the same terminology used to describe same sex people in a union, or as you want to call it, marriage. Those terms being husband and wife.

          Gays demand equality, but refuse to embrace it completely. Gays are only prepared to go half way when it comes to Gay “marriage”.

          Unless you are prepared to go all the way, rather than attempting to hijack the word “marriage” and change it’s definition, embrace it completely, call yourself the wife, and I won’t have any objections to your use of the term.

          If you and the gay Community cannot do that, then leave thousands of years of tradition alone, and find another word in the Dictionary which will suit a same sex union.

          • Michael Barnett says:

            Barry, I actually addressed your point directly by stating that for over 20 years same-sex couples have been getting married overseas. Given that fact, marriages are not just wife/husband. You’d have to be quite delusional to believe marriages are only wife/husband these days.

            As to your other points about children and race, I didn’t suggest you had any concerns about them, but frequently people who object to same-sex marriages raise the issue of procreation, and their arguments against such marriages parallel those used against mix-race marriages. If you don’t have such concerns, kudos to you.

            You make me laugh. I’ll call myself a wife when you tell me who wears the pants in your marriage.

            • BARRY MOND says:

              Wrong again, Michael.

              The fact that same sex marriage has been recognised overseas has got nothing to do with the use of the word marriage to describe same sex unions.
              It is not a marriage in the traditional, and for 5,000 years accepted use, of the word.

              And the fact that unions between gays are called marriages, and gays and some Heterosexuals are comfortable with the use of the word marriage to describe those unions, if you read the letters column in the newspapers about the topic of gay “marriage”, unless you are so blinkered biased that you can’t see the wood for the trees, you will note many letter writers raising the same objection as I have.

              Call it whatever you want, just stop hijacking a word which has for thousands of years, been the domain of Heterosexual couples.

              As much as you and other Gay partners would love it to be true, you will never be on an equal footing with Heterosexual couples where marriage is concerned. To believe otherwise, is truly delusional.

              However, I believe that over time, gay unions will become an accepted part of general society while still not acceptable to Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other faiths.

              As far as I am concerned, you and your partner, will always be on the same level as a Heterosexual De Facto couple, neither of whom refer to each other as husband and wife, but as “my partner”.

              As to your second paragraph, I didn’t say whether or not I had concerns about mixed marriages, or gays having children because that can be a debate for another time, and was totally irrelevant to the point I was making.

              Your reference to it again, displays the fact that you find it impossible to engage in a reasoned logical debate and actually stick to the subject being debated.

              I’m very happy for you that you think this is all very hilarious.

              In my marriage, I’m the husband and I wear the pants, so start calling yourself a wife, Michael!!

              • Michael Barnett says:

                LOL. I’ll gladly wear the label of wife Barry. Nothing to be ashamed of mate. In my relationship I can manage the responsibilities of a wife and a husband. I was more hoping that you’d consider yourself an equal in your relationship and not “the one who wears the pants”.

                Whether you like it or not, the meaning of the word marriage is evolving, as it has over the millenia. No longer do men own multiple wives. Marriages can now end in divorce. Women are no longer property of their husband, at least under the law.

                Before long, all civilised nations will understand civil marriage to be the union of two people. Some religions will come on board sooner than others. No religion will be forced to come on board.

                You are welcome to live in the past, while society evolves and becomes a better, more inclusive place.

                • BARRY MOND says:

                  Wrong again, Michael,

                  Just because you and the gay Community would like to believe it,the meaning of the word marriage, is not evolving.

                  It is, and has always been, the union between a man and a woman.

                  The fact that people divorce, or no longer have multiple wives, is, once again, totally irrelevant to the meaning of the word itself. It is just yet another furfy that you have introduced into this debate.

                  And the fact that same sex unions are being legally recognized, also has no relevance whatsoever to the actual meaning of the word “marriage”.

                  It will always define the union between a man and a woman, no matter how much the gay Community want to bully us into accepting that it should also mean a union between same sex couples.

                  I have always respected the rights of gays to be included into Society, and have never condoned or supported either their exclusion, or being discriminated against under the law.

                  During the first 10 years of my business life, I would estimate that the gay Community comprised at least 70% of my business, so in a time more than 40 years ago, when gays were afraid to admit that they were gay, I, as a Heterosexual, understood their fears and concerns, far more than probably anyone else in the Jewish Community, because there was not a day that went by, when I did not transact business with Homosexuals or Lesbians.

                  As I said, in my original post and subsequent posts.

                  Although, it does not agree with my religious beliefs,I have no issue with gays forming unions and having those unions legalised and recognised under the Law.

                  As I said, I am not going to debate whether or not I agree with gays either having surrogates bear children for them, or adopting children. That, is another topic for another time.

                  I understand completely what gays have had to endure when two same sex people have been involved in a long term monogamous relationship, and certain legal matters arise affecting both partners and one partner has no say in those legal matters.

                  I could not have been more clearer in saying that I also understand that there will be Gay unions conducted by Celebrants. I said, that it was inevitable that it would become law in this Country as it has overseas.

                  However, and I won’t be posting anymore after this,
                  it is my firm belief, that the term “marriage”, must and should always remain the domain of Heterosexual couples, as it has for 5,000 years.

                  You can twist it and turn it anyway you want. The fact is, that we are not the same. For one thing, our sexual preferences are diametrically opposed. And if you can’t accept that we are different, and that Gays are not the same as straight people at the very least in that area of our lives, then you are living in a dream world, and we will agree to disagree.

                  Society has gone ahead in leaps and bounds both economically, and technologically. However, morally and ethically, we have gone backwards, and that applies to society as a whole.

                  When minority groups, gays are 3% of the population in Australia, seek to change laws which discriminate against them, be they Jewish, or any other minority groups, then they have my full support.

                  However, when they seek to hijack terms that have applied to aspects of our lives for thousands of years, on the basis that they seek equality, yet, refuse to embrace that equality fully, i.e calling one partner a husband, without calling the other the wife, and vice versa, yet still insist on referring to their union as a “marriage” which means that one partner is the husband and the other the wife, they are guilty of the same bullying, our way or the highway tactics, of which they accuse the Heterosexual Community of being guilty, when it comes to our treatment of Gays.

                  If the gay Community want really genuine broad public support, find another word to describe your Union. As I said, the newspapers and web sites have been flooded with letters and posts by people who say, fair enough, gays want a gay union, fine. Just don’t use the word married to describe it and it will have the affect of a greater level of acceptance among Heterosexuals.

                  If it is good enough for the Heterosexual Community to come up with a word to describe a couple who live together and may also have children but have not gone through the marriage ceremony, as a De Facto couple, wherein the couple refer to themselves as partners, then it should not be too difficult for gays to find a word to suit, what is a unique relationship.

                  I can’t speak for all civilised nations, but I will never accept the word marriage to describe a gay union.

                  I am probably fighting a losing battle, but this obstinance by the Gay Community to refer to their unions as a “marriage” has absolutely lessened my genuinely heartfelt feelings for what they have been through, to gain the general acceptance in Communities that they have today.

                  I will always treat Gays with the absolute dignity that I treat all members of Society.

                  However, as I have said, although I have no issue with Gay unions, while they keep referring to their unions as a marriage, my respect for their cause is now non-existent.

                  • Michael Barnett says:

                    We might just have to agree to disagree. I am legally married to a man. You might not see it that way but the words on the legally binding document indicate that it’s a Certificate of Marriage. The same certificate and legal authority under which my mother and father married, over in NZ.

                    Maybe one day you’ll come to your senses and accept that the world has moved on, as much as you don’t want it to. Maybe not. Who knows. I don’t know what you’re so scared of.

                • BARRY MOND says:

                  Hi Michael,
                  I don’t want you to think that your reply to me went unanswered.

                  I wrote a long considered reply, which was devoid of any bad language and anything else that could possibly have seen it censored.

                  Unfortunately, for reasons best known to themselves, the powers that be who run this site decided not to allow it to “go to air” so to speak.

                  This post may be censored as well, so frankly, I don’t know why I have bothered.

                  Anyway, I do wish you well in the future, however I remain steadfast in my view that irrespective of what the future may hold, the term “marriage” should not relate to a union between same sex couples.

        • Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

          There is no marriage between humans of the same sex,it is an oxymoronic statement.
          It is an arrangement.
          In 2115 if Jane and her tiger cohabitate what will be call that?.

          • Michael Barnett says:

            You are completely wrong Pinchos. I got married under civil law in New Zealand to my husband Gregory. It’s a legal marriage and it’s between two men. You may choose to bury your head in the sand but in the eyes of that government and many others we are legally married.

            As for what Jane and her tiger do, that’s between them, but for your information a tiger is not capable of giving consent under the law, so I can’t see any sane government legalising that type of relationship. I don’t imagine letting two people of the same same get married is going to lead to Jane/tiger marriages, but who knows, if you lobby your government hard enough for it, maybe they will.

  4. ben gershon says:

    above comment is why some rabbis should not comment beyond their understanding


    mazle tov to the couple

    • Robert Weil says:

      Ben, don’t be so dismissive of Rabbis. They understand far more than you, as they are generally the ones that have to be called in eventually to try and clean up the mess caused by dysfunctional situations such as this. Have some sympathy for the parents too.

      • Michael Barnett says:

        Unless I’m mistaken it was the rabbis who caused the mess at the Yeshiva Centre in Melbourne. We probably wouldn’t have seen the extent of child sexual abuse there if it wasn’t for this wisdom of theirs you talk so highly about.

        • Robert Weil says:

          I’ll grant you it wasn’t well handled at the Yeshivah Michael, but it wasn’t Rabbi’s who “caused the mess”. The mess was caused by sexual predators who delighted in sodomizing little boys. The Rabbis you refer to were not the perpetrators, unlike the gay Catholic priests at Ballarat and the gay teachers at Knox Grammar.

          • Michael Barnet says:

            I think Robert you’ll find it was the rabbis at Yeshiva who failed to notify the police. The sexual orientation of paedophiles is irrelevant.

          • Zephaniah Waks says:

            Robert, does the name of pedophile Rabbi David Kramer ring a bell? He has sat in jail in multiple countries…

    • Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

      Understand what Ben.
      I have been a professional therapist for 30 years, dealing with all sections of every community.
      This is a sad situation from a human point of view, it will not lead to a good place, the bliss will be short lived.

  5. Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    very sad
    our world is becoming more and more confusing, a theater of the absurd.
    how long will such a union last… ?
    what is the tachlis?
    I wish both of these young people well.
    I hope there are good people in their orbit ready to help when this farce comes crashing down.

    • Henry Greener says:

      ….it may seem strange and bizarre, but the world we live in is becoming more diverse and somewhat alien to those not open to changes to the variations from conservative views. All religion must adjust to these somewhat strange situations…love rules…and only blessings of positive encouragement should be put out there…Eliana and Itamar should be allowed to live out their dreams…Mazal Tov…!!

      • Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

        Yes, the world is diverse, it has been that way since Adam and Eve.
        People have been making choices in every generation.
        We thank God live in civil societies where choice abound.
        However, we can be victims of our choices and pay an enormous price for immature ill thought through actions.

      • Eleonora Mostert says:

        Wrong Henry Religion should not adjust. God is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and Eternity, The Alfa and the Omega. I wish these people well but will not encourage this choice of life style.

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