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Court rules trans teen can start puberty blockers without the consent of her ‘threatening and demeaning’ father

Emma Powys Maurice January 17, 2021
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The landmark ruling on puberty blockers is the first of its kind in Queensland (Envato)

A court in Australia has ruled that a 13-year-old trans girl can start puberty blockers “without delay,” even though her father did not give his consent.

The landmark ruling from the Supreme Court of Queensland allows the teen to seek gender-affirming treatment with her mother’s permission, rather than requiring consent from both parents or guardians.

The ruling by Justice Ann Lyons is the first of its kind in Queensland, with decisions regarding treatment consent for children with gender dysphoria only made in the Federal Court in the past.

The court heard that the child first declared she was a girl at the age of four and socially transitioned while attending school. She was terrified of her voice deepening and distressed about her genitalia, with reports from her doctor of self-mutilation.

As she grew older she became “increasingly distressed and dysphoric about her body and [was] very concerned about stopping puberty,” medical reports said.

The father did not support her transition and is said to have made “threatening and demeaning” comments towards both mother and daughter.

Court documents describe his illicit drug use and emotional, verbal and physical abuse, noting that he was previously subject to a domestic violence order and was once removed from the family home.

The mother and daughter moved to Queensland in 2017 to escape the man, first staying in a shelter and later with friends. He still does not know their whereabouts, nor they his.

“There will be considerable delay in ascertaining the views of the father in relation to the proposed treatment,” said Justice Ann Lyons in her ruling.

“Delaying treatment to seek and obtain [the] father’s consent is not in the best interests of [the child]… I am satisfied that orders should be made in the terms sought as it is clearly in the best interests of [the child] that treatment should commence without delay.”

Previous rulings have required both parents’ consent for puberty blockers, regardless of the degree of involvement with parenting – but the mother had asked the court to exercise its “parens patriae” power, which allows a judge to intervene in the child’s best interests.

Based on the evidence Justice Lyons was satisfied that this was the case and ordered her treatment to begin as soon as possible.

Related topics: Australia, puberty blockers, queensland, trans kids

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