Teen taken into care after ‘abusive’ parents refused to let him transition and live as a boy

Parents claim that a school using a student's name and pronouns violates their constitutional rights

A trans teen has been removed from his parents after a judge ruled that their refusal to support his transition is “abusive”.

The ruling, thought to be the first of its kind, has seen the transgender 15-year-old taken into care after his parents refused to let him live as a boy.

The case came to the attention of Australian authorities in 2019 after the teenager began posting thoughts of suicidal ideation online.

In October 2020, a state-level children’s court magistrate made a protection order and removed the trans teen from his parents, citing the risk of self-harm. According to The Mirror, the parents claim they are grieving the loss of their child and have been bullied by the authorities.

The magistrate found, on the balance of probabilities, that the teenager suffered verbal abuse “related to his feelings and expression of gender identity”.

The father said: “[The authorities say] we will not allow [him] to change gender, so it’s dangerous for [him] to come back to our house because we will mentally abuse [him] – they want us to consent to testosterone treatment.”

The parents added that they were aware their child was depressed and in danger but preferred to seek independent psychological help with the aim of finding a “non-invasive” treatment for the underlying causes of their child’s depression.

The parents have appealed the judge’s ruling, and the authorities have agreed that the trans teen must now get a second opinion before being allowed hormone replacement therapy.

A lawyer for the parents said: “It’s controversial because different doctors can come up with different diagnoses and different treatments, so for parents to seek a second opinion before going along with irreversible treatment is wholly appropriate.”

It is thought to be the first case in Australia where both parents oppose their child’s transition.

In Australia, any form of medical transition for under-18s – puberty blockers, hormone treatment, or gender-affirming surgery – used to have to be approved by a court.

Since a 2013 ruling, it’s been possible for parents and children to access puberty-blocking drugs without a judges approval.

In 2017, another court ruled that trans youth and their parents could consent to hormone treatment without needing to go to court.

In September, a court overruled the mother of a trans teen to allow the teen access to gender-affirming healthcare. The girl’s father, who supports her gender identity and transition, said the judge’s decision came as a relief.