A transgender Kiwi officially recognised as a woman has married her Israeli love in Auckland.
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.
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.