A transgender teenager was removed from their parents’ custody after a judge said their alleged refusal to allow the child to transition into a boy amounted to ‘abuse’.
The teen, who was born female, was taken into care at the age of 15 after discussing suicide in online chats.
It came after a magistrate sitting in a state children’s court made a protection order citing the child’s risk of self-harm back in October.
The parents, who moved to Australia a decade ago, said they knew their child needed help for depression, but wanted an independent psychologist to look into possible underlying causes and consider non-invasive treatment options.
The father told The Weekend Australian: ‘(The authorities say) we will not allow her to change gender, so it’s dangerous for her to come back to our house because we will mentally abuse her – they want us to consent to testosterone treatment.’
Authorities have agreed to a request for a second opinion before any decision is taken in relation to hormone treatments.
The mother said the teenager lost friends when they migrated and has struggled with puberty, their body image and general social skills.
Patrick Parkinson, dean of law at Queensland University, said he believed the decision to remove the child on gender-identity grounds was a legal first.
The parents’ lawyers filed an appeal against the court order removing the child on November 20.
They are expected to argue that the magistrate erred when making the order, which they say does not apply to the causes of gender dysphoria or treatment options.
The judge ruled that, on the balance of probabilities, the teen suffered verbal abuse ‘related to his feelings and expression of gender identity’.
The parents deny any abuse took place.
Lawyers representing the child filed a separate suit on November 7 applying for approval to commence hormone therapy.
A preliminary hearing will take place in the Family Court this week.
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