A transgender teen whose father sought to stop his transition can go ahead with the procedure, a Canadian court ruled Thursday.
A three-judge panel of the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s ruling that the 14-year-old trans boy could continue his transition, The Guardian reports. A judge on the lower court had contended that the father’s denial of the son’s gender identity would constitute “family violence.” The names of both the boy and his father are being kept confidential by court decree.
The teen, who lives in Vancouver, was assigned female at birth but has identified as male since age 11. He began hormone therapy after having attempted suicide and met with medical professionals, but his father took legal action to stop the treatment. His mother supports the treatment.
Without hormone therapy, “I will be stranded between looking and sounding feminine and looking and sounding masculine. I would feel like a freak,” the teen wrote in an affidavit that was read in court Tuesday. He began the treatment in March, now feels “amazing,” and has ceased having suicidal thoughts, his lawyers said in court.
Eighteen lawyers appeared in the court of appeal, the province’s highest court, over a three-day hearing, The Guardian reports. They included counsel for public health officials, the school board for the boy’s district, and the teen, his mother, and his father.
LGBTQ activists have said the father embraces “conservative gender ideology,” and right-wing groups and publications have taken up his cause. Lawyers for the father, though, said he is not opposed to his son’s transition but believes a minor should not make the decision on his own to receive hormones, as too little is known about the treatment’s effects. “It’s about the right of a parent to participate in the discussion on that issue,” Carey Linde, a member of the father’s legal team, told The Guardian.
LGBTQ health groups, however, point out that Canadian law allows minors to make decisions about their care. “The law is clear that for the purposes of assessing informed consent … a youth seeking gender affirming healthcare is to be treated — and must be treated — in the same way as any other youth seeking any other medical treatment,” the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health said in a court document.
The three-judge panel is expected to release written judgments in the next few months dealing with a variety of issues, including whether the father is engaging in abusive behavior by misgendering his son, The Guardian reports.