Top Family Court Judge Wants Law Changed To Help Transgender Kids


Diana Bryant Chief Justice Family Court Annabelle Composite

Chief Justice of the Family Court Diana Bryant has said she wants to change the “difficult” and “stressful” process delaying transgender children access to hormone treatment.

In order for teenage transgender children to access “stage two” hormone treatment, they need approval from a Family Court judge in addition to expert medical approval.

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The process is unique to Australia, costs families tens of thousands of dollars and has a waiting period of as long as 10 months.

“I accept it is difficult and stressful and we need to try and find some more simple solution,” Chief Justice Bryant (pictured, left) told ABC’s Lateline.

“I’ve asked the [Attorney General’s] Department if we could organise a roundtable involving the major hospitals which at this stage are in Melbourne and Brisbane … and just see if we can sort out a simpler and consistent method of dealing with these matters.

“I would ultimately envisage an application that could be made relatively simply by consent.”

The Lateline program interviewed 10-year-old Annabelle (pictured, right), who recently begun to transition to a girl.

“When I wasn’t myself, I was angry. I was sad all the time and I would just cry a lot. I felt like I wasn’t even a person: just kind of nothing,” she said.

“Being a girl is amazing. I really, really, really like being a girl.”

Dr Michelle Telfer has run the Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Clinic in Melbourne since 2013, and she’s seen a “massive increase” in the number of transgender children referred year-on-year.

“[In 2013] we had 18 new referrals come to our clinic and each year that number has risen. In 2015, we had 170 new cases and this year we’re already on track to get about 250 new referrals,” she told Lateline.

“It’s about social circumstances and people feeling able to come forward and speak out.”

In February, Dr Telfer accompanied several transgender children, their parents and other medical experts on a trip to Canberra to ask politicians to reform the court process.

“There’s no one that benefits from having the court [process] in place. The courts want this out of the courts. We have the doctors wanting it out of the courts. We have the community engaged as a really strong group to want it out of the court,” she said at the time.