Court rules child does not need both parent’s permission to access puberty blockers

A Queensland judge has granted permission for a transgender child to access puberty blockers without the consent of both parents.

The landmark ruling will allow the 13 year old to access puberty blockers, and will overrule a previous ruling that both parents must give permission for the medical treatment to commence.

The court heard that the teenager requires the treatment as their is concerns for their mental health as they approach puberty. The subject of the case has identified as female since the age of four and has socially transitioned and has lived as female for six years.

The court heard that the child is autistic but is also an above average student. The teenager lives her mother and is no longer in contact with her father. The court heard the father has not been in contact with the family since 2017 and his whereabouts are unknown. The court head the father also has a history of drug abuse and there had also been previous reports of domestic violence.

Supreme Court Justice Ann Lyons said delaying the treatment while attempts were made to track down the father were not in the interest of the child.

Lyle Shelton, the former head of the Australian Christian Lobby, who has campaigned against transgender people under the age of eighteen being able to access medical treatment, has criticised Justice Lyon’s decision describing it as “surprising and shocking”.

On his social media channels Shelton said Justice Lyons should have paid more attention to the Keira Bell British High Court decision that was delivered in December 2020 which has limited British doctors ability to prescribe puberty blockers and hormone treatments.  Admitting that he had not read the judgement, Shelton said he had no idea of what the judges thinking was in the case.

In her published judgement Justice Lyons outlines Australian case law regarding children’s ability to make decisions, parental rights, and previous decisions relating to children who are transgender. Justice Lyons also said that if the parent and child later wanted to progress to secondary treatment involving hormone treatment the Family Court of Australia would be the most appropriate forum given their previous experience in cases involving the treatment of gender dysphoria.

Speaking to QNews Australian Transgender Support Association of Queensland (ATSAQ) president Gina Mather commended the judge’s decision as in the child’s best interest.

“We understand the heartache and desperation of trying to contact an absent parent regarding medical assistance for a child,” she said while highlighting that puberty blockers gave people breathing space to consider the future carefully.

OIP Staff

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