A 17-year-old trans boy has become the first in Australia to be allowed access to gender treatment without permission from his parents.
In Australia, trans people under the age of 18 must have parental consent for some gender-related care, meaning that children whose parents do not respect their gender identity are left unable to seek specialised treatments.
However, in the first ruling of its kind, the Family Court found that a 17-year-old from Melbourne cannot be denied access to treatment simply because of his parents’ objections.
The boy has been granted anonymity in the case – but it is understood that he was born in an Asian country, and his parents sent him to live with Australian relatives.
When he came out as trans, his parents blamed Western influences, and refused to give permission for him to start treatments – instead planning to bring him back to their home country and put him through ‘conversion therapy’.
The boy challenged for his right to access treatment in Australia through a court case, with the help of Victoria Legal Aid, and the court has since found in his favour.
Michelle Telfer of The Royal Children’s Hospital’s Gender Dysphoria Service told The Age: “The number of people experiencing gender dysphoria hasn’t increased in terms of prevalence, but with social change and improvements in inclusiveness and acceptance of gender diversity, people are feeling safe to come forward to ask for medical assistance.”
Nicole Rich of Victoria Legal Aid says she is hopeful the case will set a precedent for teens in similar situations.