Trans teen granted access to treatment by Queensland Supreme Court

supreme court of queensland wikimedia commons transgender teen
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A 13-year-old transgender girl will receive puberty blockers without her estranged father’s consent, according to an important Queensland Supreme Court ruling.

The mother of the child, identified as “A” due to privacy, applied to the Court seeking access to the treatment, recommended by the girl’s specialists.

A’s psychiatrist told the court from age four onwards, A declared she was a girl and not a boy and was “born in the wrong body”.

“I have formed the view that A has been insistent, persistent and consistent in her female gender identity for six years,” the psychiatrist told the court.

“A first disclosed … at age four that she was a girl. She is socially transitioned, and her friends know her as [her female name].”

However A now needs the puberty blocking medication amid concerns about her mental health.

The child, who has autism spectrum disorder, had a history of self-harm due to distress about her body and development, the psychiatrist said.

The girl’s treating specialists recommended the treatment to stop puberty negatively impacting her mental health.

However, while the mother and daughter have consented to the puberty blocker medication, her estranged father had not.

Ruling is first of its kind in Supreme Court

In 2013, the Family Court ruled transgender children under 18 didn’t need court approval for puberty blockers with parental consent.

However the families must still go to court in cases of parental disputes.

A’s case is the first of its kind heard in the Supreme Court, and not the Family Court of Australia.

Queensland Supreme Court Justice Ann Lyons heard A and her mother had not had contact with the girl’s father since 2017.

The court heard he was abusive and a drug user when he was with the family. The mother said she and A had moved away to escape the abuse.

The father’s current whereabouts were unknown, but he had not previously supported A’s transition, the court heard.

In her ruling, Justice Lyons said she was satisfied the 13-year-old has gender dysphoria.

She ruled that allowing A access to the puberty blockers “without delay” is in her best interests.

“There will be considerable delay in ascertaining the views of the father in relation to the proposed treatment,” she said.

“Delaying treatment to seek and obtain [the] father’s consent is not in the best interests of A.”

Puberty blockers allow transgender children and parents ‘breathing space’

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.

Mather said the reversible puberty blockers allow both the child and parents “breathing space”. She commended Justice Lyons for “acting quickly to make this urgently-needed decision.”

Last October, the Family Court of Australia granted a 16-year-old transgender girl access to gender-affirming hormone treatment after her father consented but her mother refused.

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