Two articles about this Charter rights case that involves a minor, parental rights and gender transition treatment.
Posted on Jul 24, 2019
The case concerns a female-born minor proceeding with testosterone treatments to transition to the opposite gender. A lower court Order prohibits the publication of the names of the born-female child (“AB”), the child’s father (“CD”), the child’s mother (“EF”) and the medical professionals involved in this case. The court’s Order also prohibits using the pronouns “she” and “her” to refer to this born-female child.
The father and mother divorced about four years ago. Since that time, their female-born child was frequently in trouble in school, seeing school counselors on a regular basis.
With the support and affirmation of school counselors, the female-born child began to transition to a male identity, including taking on a male name. This was kept secret from the father, even though custody is legally shared between him and his ex-wife, and despite his legal right to know all significant happenings and developments pertaining to his own child. The father only found out after seeing his child in a school yearbook, dressed up as a boy with a new male name below the picture.
The child continued to meet with school counselors who supported AB presenting to others as a male. They referred the child to a psychologist (“Dr. IJ”), who then referred the child to “Dr. GH” at the BC Children’s Hospital. In December of 2018, Dr. GH sent the father a letter stating that the Children’s Hospital would begin giving the child testosterone within two weeks, without the father’s consent. The father then filed a court application to prevent the treatment from going ahead without his consent.
On February 27, 2019, Justice Bowden of the Supreme Court of British Columbia declared that it was in the best interests of the child to receive the controversial cross-sex hormone treatments and/or pubertal suppressant drugs, and/or whatever other treatment may be recommended by the BC Children’s Hospital, including surgeries such as mastectomy.
Further, Justice Bowden also specifically forbade the father from attempting to persuade AB to abandon this experimental treatment, which carries life-altering, permanent consequences. Calling the female-born child by the name assigned at birth or trying to persuade the child not to proceed with irreversible treatments, would constitute “family violence” under BC’s Family Law Act, according to Justice Bowden.
If granted leave to intervene, the Justice Centre will explain how children have a legal right to the protection of those who love them the most and know them the best: their own parents. The Charter protects the liberty and security interests of parents in the raising and caring for their own children, including a right to make decisions for them in fundamental matters such as participating in elective irreversible medical interventions.
The Justice Centre will also explain that compelled speech violates free expression as protected by section 2(b) of the Charter and has been described by the Supreme Court of Canada as “totalitarian, and as such alien to the tradition of free nations like Canada.” In addition to protecting every person’s freedom to speak, hear and listen, the Charter protects the right not to be compelled by the government (including the courts) to utter words which are not one’s own. By ordering the child’s father to express agreement with, or consent for, the hormone treatment, the BC lower court violated the father’s Charter right to freedom of expression.
Neither the government nor the courts will pick up the pieces of this child’s life if they are wrong regarding these treatments. It will be the parents.
There should be no irreversible medical treatment until the parents agree, or the child reaches an age with the requisite maturity of a “mature minor”.
The following related article which mentions some studies and confirmed findings. If these accurate it appears it is better to wait till the child is an adult to consider hormone treatment.
In 2018, Brown University published Lisa Littman’s findings from a case study with 256 parents
evidencing the rapid onset of gender dysphoria in adolescent girls. The study
evidences a correlation between social media use and peer influence as twin
factors contributing to the phenomenon.
Gender dysphoria is often linked with mental health problems and
childhood trauma. It may be triggered by peer pressure, or by their
social environment, but gender confusion typically desists following
The psychologist who was treating AB, Dr. IJ, has publicly stated
that only 2% to 20% of transgender kids stay transgender. The vast
majority grow out of it. Dr. IJ’s claim is consistent with medical
research, which shows that more than 80% of gender-confused children
accept their biological gender by the time they are 18, absent
“affirmation therapy” and cross-sex hormones.