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British mum sells her house to cover legal fees after losing custody of her child for supporting their transition

Vic Parsons November 13, 2020
British parents crowdfunding to be reunited with their transgender children

Stock image of two parents and a child. (Envato)

British parents are raising money through a crowdfunding campaign to appeal court rulings that removed their transgender children from their care.

There are at least three families trying to raise funds to pay for lawyers and court fees in order to challenge rulings that saw them lose custody of their children.

The parents maintain that their trans kids were taken away from them because the courts disagreed with their gender-affirming parenting, an approach that means a trans child will be listened to and supported.

In one case, a mother has sold her house in her bid to be reunited with her child before Christmas.

Fox Fisher, a trans activist, told PinkNews: “I personally know of a few cases in the UK where children have been taken away from their supportive parents, and it breaks my heart. What makes these cases even harder to deal with is that there are gagging orders placed on people and they are unable to speak out – and organisations are too afraid or unable to get involved or help.

“It’s such a deep systematic injustice, and will do irreparable harm to those young people involved. One day these kids are going to turn around and tell everyone who they are, and what these judges did was wrong.”

The parents lost custody of their trans kids through rulings made by judges sitting at family courts, which in the UK handle a variety of cases that can determine the future of children. These include situations where there are parental disputes over the way children are brought up, when a local authority has intervened to protect children, custody proceedings as a result of divorce, determining financial support for children after their parents’ relationship ended, some domestic-violence issues and adoption cases.

Drastic cuts to legal aid mean that many parents end up representing themselves before family court judges, who have the power to remove children from their families and to determine how much contact time each parent may get with their child.

Money for legal fees is being raised for the families through a GoFundMe crowdfunding page.

Crowdfunder is to ‘show solidarity with these families’.

The crowdfunder urges people to donate to help three families appeal the rulings that saw them lose custody of their transgender children.

“Young transgender people are being separated from their supportive families, indefinitely, through the family court system,” the GoFundMe page states.

“We have started this crowdfunder to provide funding for families separated because they’ve openly supported their trans child.

“The aim is to collectively create ways to alleviate some of that pressure through donations, showing solidarity with these families. Connection with each other to get through these battles is crucial.”

Fox Fisher added: “These families deserve to be reunited and to be together. This is yet another display of how deeply transphobic this country is, on every level.”

Transgender children ‘ill served by premature labelling’, ruled judge.

In one of the cases being supported by the crowdfunder, a mother lost custody of her seven-year-old child in 2016 when a family court judge, according to the Guardian, ruled that allowing her child to “live life entirely as a girl” had caused the child “significant emotional harm”.

In the ruling, the judge said it was “striking” that the mother and social services used feminine pronouns for her child. “I pause here to emphasise that [the child] was, at this stage, between four and six years of age,” Mr Justice Hayden said.

Hayden criticised local authority social services staff , who had “moved into wholesale acceptance that [the boy] should be regarded as a girl”. He gave custody of the child solely to the father in a ruling issued after private hearings in the family division of the high court in London.

The judge added: “I was also left in no doubt that [the mother] was absolutely convinced that [the child] perceived himself as a girl.” Hayden said his “overwhelming impression” was that the woman “believes herself to be to fighting for [her child’s] right to express himself as a girl”.

Hayden concluded: “I consider that [the mother] has caused significant emotional harm to [her child] in her active determination that he should be a girl […] It is important that such children are listened to and their views afforded respect but, to my mind, they are ill served by premature labelling.”

Three-quarters of transgender men and women first experienced gender dysphoria by the age of seven, according to a landmark study published in medical journal JAMA Open Network earlier this year.

The study also found that trans men and women lived for an average of 22.9 and 27.1 years, respectively, with untreated gender dysphoria before coming out as transgender and socially transitioning.

 

More: crowdfunder, Family Court, Fox Fisher, GoFundMe, lgbt families, trans kids

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