Court approves trans teen’s treatment after parental dispute


family court of australia transgender youth teenager hormone treatment
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A 16-year-old transgender girl whose mother opposed her transition can access gender-affirming hormone treatment after a win in the Family Court of Australia.

The girl’s father had consented to the treatment, but her mother refused, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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Family Court Justice Garry Watts last week granted access to oestrogen treatment for the girl, given the pseudonym Imogen.

“We got the result last night and we had a bit of a cry,” her father told the Herald.

He described the outcome as a relief, saying that the judge was “very fair” and focused on his daughter’s best interests.

The court heard Imogen had identified as female from the age of six or seven years.

However, Imogen’s mother disputed her competency to consent to treatment, her gender dysphoria diagnosis, and the treatment itself.

Last Thursday, Justice Watts ruled against her claims. He said Imogen had “expressed a consistent, persistent, and insistent view that she wishes to move to… gender affirming hormone treatment”.

He ruled that Imogen was a young person “of intelligence and maturity” able to consent. He said Imogen’s diagnosis was and treatment was in her best interests.

Ruling gives more certainty to transgender youth

In 2013, the Family Court ruled trans youth didn’t need court approval for “stage one” treatment, reversible puberty blockers.

However in cases of parental disputes, the teenagers must still seek the court’s approval.

Then in 2017, the Family Court ruled court approval wasn’t required for “stage two” hormone treatment with parental support, in a major win for trans Australians.

Now Sydney’s Inner City Legal Centre said the new ruling provides “much-needed clarity” around the court’s role in resolving “stage two” disputes.

An ICLC spokesperson said the ruling would “improve certainty” for transgender youth.

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“The court’s judgment confirms that the existing law is that a medical practitioner seeing a young person under the age of 18 cannot initiate stage one, two, or three treatment without establishing parental consent,” they said.

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