A trans woman who threatened to kill her Orthodox Jewish father with a crossbow for refusing to pay for her gender reassignment surgery has won more than $3million from his deceased estate.
Jessica Joss has been awarded $3.225 million by Victoria’s Supreme Court to help pay for her living expenses as well as gender reassignment surgery, something Peter Joss refused to support before his 2017 death.
Ms Joss, now nearly 61, in 1999 threatened to kill her father by storming the family’s Melbourne synagogue armed with a crossbow during a bar mitzvah, after which she planned to take her own life.
She did not go ahead with the plot and was not charged. But the woman was admitted as an involuntary patient to a psychiatric facility.
Ms Joss told a psychiatrist her father had threatened to cut off her allowance if she did not meet certain conditions, including abandoning a plan to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
‘She wanted to embarrass her family, publicly and privately, to punish them for not accepting that she was transgender, and also to try to force them into paying what she regarded as her entitlement,’ Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said in a recent August judgment.
Ms Joss had an extremely tumultuous relationship with her family and felt emotionally rejected by them.
‘The fact that, even now, her family do not really understand and accept that she identifies as a woman, has no doubt been (and continues to be) extremely hurtful to her,’ Justice Hollingworth said.
‘But the reality is far more complicated than that, and Jessica has contributed substantially to the dysfunction and the breakdown of the relationship by her conduct over many decades.’
At one point, Ms Joss went to Tajikistan because she planned to fight with foreign troops in Afghanistan. She ran out of money and her family helped her come home.
She did not work after 1999 and at the time of her father’s death, was receiving a $1600 weekly allowance.
If she racked up credit card debt, her father paid it. The only thing her parents wouldn’t help with was her gender reassignment surgery.
Justice Hollingworth noted Ms Joss could have worked after recovering from her hospital admission and saved up for the surgery herself.
But the woman believed her parents were obliged to foot the bill for it.
‘This belief that her parents must pay for her surgery has become the obsession of her life for the past two decades,’ the judge said.
Mr Joss left his $12.4million estate to his wife, Judith.
Before his death, he told his daughter he had already given her enough.
But Justice Hollingworth awarded Ms Joss about quarter of the deceased estate.
The judge said Mr Joss owed his child a moral duty because he had allowed her to become financially dependent on him and lose much of, if not all, her capacity to work.
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