November 29, 2015 at 10:48 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Israeli Supreme Court upholds transgender advocate’s will

Mary Peleg, gay news, Washington Blade

May Peleg, a prominent transgender rights advocate in Israel who once chaired Jerusalem Open House, a local LGBT advocacy organization, took her life on Nov. 14, 2015. (Photo by Ofrit Assaf)

The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a transgender rights advocate who had requested that she be cremated.

May Peleg — who was born into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family — made the request before she took her own life on Nov. 14. Her mother challenged the advocate’s will in Jerusalem District Court.

The Jerusalem District Court upheld Peleg’s will. The Israeli Supreme Court on Nov. 24 rejected her mother’s appeal of the lower court’s decision.

“Contrary to whether more weight should be attributed to the position of the family, the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty puts the wishes of the deceased at center stage,” wrote Justice Neal Hendel, according to a text of the ruling that Tel Aviv University posted to its website.

Sarah Kala-Meir, executive director of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, a local LGBT advocacy group, welcomed the ruling.

“After nearly two weeks of mourning and pain for the loss of our friend, it was a small moment of relief and a big win for May and the LGBT community in general,” she said in a statement.

Peleg, 31, chaired Jerusalem Open House until 2013.

She founded Transmeeting, the city’s first trans advocacy group. Peleg also owned an LGBT bar in Jerusalem.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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