Australian teenagers can now start hormone treatment without getting a judge’s permission.
In a landmark ruling by the Family Court, it was decided that if children have parental permission and their doctor’s approval, they don’t need a judge’s consent as well.
The life-changing moment came in the same week that the Senate passed groundbreaking LGBT politician Dean Smith’s same-sex marriage bill.
The Human Rights Law Centre and trans group A Gender Agenda intervened in on behalf of 16-year-old trans teen Kelvin – not his real name – who applied for testosterone treatment.
17-year-old trans advocate Georgie Stone expressed her delight with the ruling, saying that it would make “a momentous difference in Australia and the lives of trans and gender diverse kids nationwide.”
Georgie, who has been made Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year for 2018, added: “It has finally happened!
“Families no longer have to apply to the Family Court of Australia for stage two treatment. It is COMPLETELY out of the courts.
“Congratulations to everyone who have fought for this. We’ve done it. Thank you for your hard work ❤️🏳️🌈”.
Georgie then made a direct address to the court, saying a “thank you to the Family Court for making the right decision.
“You have just changed the lives of hundreds of trans teens, for the better.”
14-year-old Isabelle Langley told ABC that the ruling had made her journey immeasurably easier.
“I’m not sure how to express [how I feel]. It makes me immensely happy,” said the trans girl, who is seeking hormone therapy.
Her parents had hired a lawyer, and they were gathering medical proof that she should be allowed to live as her actual gender identity.
Now, she just needs her doctor’s approval.
She said that going to the Family Court “was stressful having to think about it, and it would be very costly.
“It was very time-consuming, it’s a lot of effort which could be put into something else.”
Anna Brown, the Human Rights Law Centre’s director of legal advocacy, hailed the ruling and the impact it will have on children.
“This will make a profound difference to the lives of many young trans people who will now be relieved of the burden of a costly and unnecessary court process in order to access hormone treatment that supports them to be who they are,” she said.
“Doctors and parents are able make decisions about every other kind of medical treatment for young people – including ethically complex decisions that weigh up risks and the consequences of not undergoing treatment – and gender dysphoria should be no different.”
Brown added that it was about time that trans teens should be able to seek appropriate treatment for gender dysphoria without going to court.
“This bizarre legal anomaly was born of outdated attitudes to trans young people and a lack of understanding of just how far medical science and treatment of gender dysphoria has come in recent years,” she said.
“Trans young people are already struggling and to inflict a costly, stressful and time-consuming court process was contributing to already alarmingly high levels of depression, self-harm and attempted suicide.”
The reaction from other advocates and trans teens was euphoric.
One wrote: “Breaking news: No more family court for trans teens needing hormones.
“Sobbing. It’s been a long time coming”.
Breaking news: No more family court for trans teens needing hormones. Sobbing. It’s been a long time coming pic.twitter.com/aWv0jhR2Oc
— Jo Hirst (@thegenderfairy1) November 30, 2017
Award-winning LGBT journalist Chloe Sargeant said: “so ridiculously happy about the family court ruling :’)”.
She added: “our beautiful trans kids do NOT a courtroom to tell them whether they can be exactly who they are! incredible result, congrats to all who worked so hard 🌈💞”.
“OMG what has happened to Australia???” wrote another delighted person. “1st we are close to having same sex marriage – can you imagine 2 people who love each being allowed to marry.
“2nd Transgender teens no longer have to go before family court to access hormone therapy, actually recognising gender dysphoria”.
They added that “some people in government might at last be accepting that tis is the 21st century, not the Victorian era”.
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Trans children charity Transcend tweeted: “It’s over! No more Family Court. Thank you Kelvin! 💕 Beyond happy.
“Relieved for trans and gender diverse adolescents all over Australia. Common sense, decency and compassion has prevailed.”
Ryan Storr, a lecturer at Western Sydney University, said: “This is great news and a step forward + in the right direction for trans + gender diverse young people + their families.
“Important that young people can access hormones without going through the family court. 1 less entrenched piece of legal discrimination down 👌”.
The director of communications at the Human Rights Law Centre, Michelle Bennett, said: “Historic win today!
“For too long #trans young people have been burdened with a stressful court process simply to access medical treatment”.
There was of course one prominent person who was – predictably – upset with the decision.
Lyle Shelton, leader of the anti-LGBT Australian Christian Lobby, said: “The march of 🏳️🌈 gender theory is something all parents who want their little boys to be boys & their girls to be girls should be concerned about.”
Wonder how it feels to be on the wrong side of history. Cold, probably.