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Trans child permitted to receive puberty blockers despite no consent from father

March 3, 2022

Case study: The medical treatment of A

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

This landmark decision was handed down in the Queensland Supreme Court in December 2020.

This case involved “A”, a 13-year-old biological male. Since the age of 4, “A” has stated that she is a girl and has been born in the wrong body. “A” has socially transitioned to a female at school. “A” wore the female uniform and used her chosen female name on the school roll. As “A” approaches adolescence, she lives in fear of becoming someone that she’s not (a boy). Puberty blockers are used to postpone puberty and delay any unwanted physical changes that do not match a person’s gender identity.

“A” lives with her mother. “A” and her mother have not been in contact with “A’s” father for three and a half years, nor do they know his whereabouts. “A’s” mother is very supportive of her daughter’s decision to enter Stage 1 puberty blocking medical treatment. However, prior to this decision, for a minor to undergo treatment of this nature, consent is required from both parents.

“A” has been receiving different forms of treatment and support from a team of specialists including, psychologists, a psychiatrist and an endocrinologist. These medical professionals report that “A” has a history of self-mutilation in relation to her genitalia and has expressed suicidal ideation in relation to her gender identity. “A” also meets the criteria for Gender Dysphoria in Childhood Adolescence. The medical team that the proposed medical treatment is in “A’s” best interests. The medical team are of the opinion that considers treatment with puberty blockers will reduce the risk of future mental health problems, deliberate selfharm and suicide.

The application to the Supreme Court was a matter of urgency as “A” is fast approaching adolescence and the physical changes to her body are having a significant impact on “A’s” mental wellbeing. Justice Lyons adopted the parens patriae jurisdiction in making her decision. The parens patriae jurisdictions permits the court to make orders contrary to the wishes of a child’s parent if the court is satisfied it is in the child’s best interests to do so. Justice Lyons concluded that the treatment was in the best interests of “A” and the treatment should occur without delay. Justice Lyons added that delaying treatment to seek and obtain “A’s” father’s consent is not in the best interest of “A”, meaning that the treatment could occur without the consent of both parents. This decision is the first of its kind and sets an encouraging precedent for transgender minors who want to begin to medically transition.

You can access the full judgement on the Queensland Supreme Court Library website: Re a Declaration Regarding the Medical Treatment of “A” [2020] QSC 389

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