‘The Court Process Is Slow but Biology Is Fast’: Assessing the Impact of the Family Court Approval Process on Transgender Children and Their Families
20 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2016 Last revised: 12 Jun 2018
Date Written: 2016
Australian adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria must obtain Family Court approval before they can commence cross-sex hormone treatment that will enable them to develop the pubertal characteristics of their chosen sex. While the legal reasoning supporting this requirement has been widely criticised, much less attention has been given to the impact of the Family Court process on transgender adolescents and their families. This article presents the finding of a small, qualitative study with parents of transgender children who were either preparing for the Family Court process, actively engaged in it, or had recently completed it. It contends that the Court approval process imposes a significant and harmful burden on children and their families that far outweighs any risks associated with permitting parents to consent to treatment.
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