The National Post has pulled their story on this case pending a legal review.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden has ruled, in a decision released Wednesday, that a 14 year old transgender boy (biologically female) can proceed with hormone injections despite not having the parental consent of his father.
The teen, who, as a minor, can only be identified as “A.B.”, has the support of his mother to proceed with the hormone injections but was originally unable to do so because of his father’s objections. The father made the case that more time was needed to examine the effects of such a move.
Judge Bowden disagreed, saying he was satisfied that A.B. knew the risks involved in such a procedure and that postponing the injections could result in suicide, something A.B. has tried before.
In his decision, the judge wrote ““The totality of the evidence regarding A.B.’s medical needs . . . leads me to conclude that his hormone treatment should not be delayed further.”
“While A.B.’s father does not consent to the treatment, I am satisfied that A.B.’s consent is sufficient for the treatment to proceed.”
In an email to the National Post, the father’s lawyer Herb Dunton said:
“The father is disappointed. He intends to appeal. He believes his child does not understand the risks and consequences of the gender transition treatment, and the harm that can come to the child. The father does not believe his case for the protection of the child was heard by the B.C. Supreme Court.”Herb Dunton
The teen’s mother and her lawyer, Jessica Lithwick, did not make any immediate comments following the decision.
However, in an affidavit previously presented to the court, the Findlay wrote ““If his treatment is put on hold, I am terrified that A.B. will conclude there is no hope and will take his life.”
A.B., who is currently in Grade 9, has identified as male since he was 11, according to the ruling.
Wallace Wong, a registered psychologist who regularly treats children with gender dysphoria, determined A.B. to be a “good candidate” for hormone injection treatment and referred him to the B.C. Children’s Hospital last year.
At the Children’s Hospital, Dr. Brenden Hursh concluded that hormone therapy would be in A.B.’s best interest and told the court that youth who experience this treatment can experience a relief in mental issues and an improvement in their gender dysphoria.
However, an improvement is no sure thing. According to a systematic review done by PubMed, “Future research to address these knowledge gaps and improve understanding of the long-term effects of these treatments [hormonal injections] is required.”
Earlier this month, the court was told that the hospital had done another evaluation of A.B. and determined that he had the ability to provide informed consent.
The father provided court with affidavits from Miriam Grossman, a Airmont, N.Y. based psychiatrist, and Dr. Quentin Van Meter, a
pediatric endocrinologist in Atlanta, Ga., which addressed the possible harmful effects, both psychological and physical, that gender transitioning can have on a child.
However, the judge wrote the gave their evidence very little weight because neither of them wrote specifically about the case of A.B.
The judge also came out hard against the father accusing him of being “disingenuous” because of his request for caution and scientific evidence saying “some evidence suggests that he has been delaying proceedings as a way of preventing his son from obtaining the gender transition treatment that he seeks.”
Additionally, the judge ruled that:
- A.B. be referred to as male and identified by his chosen name in all legal proceedings
- A.B. be allowed to change his legal name without the need for consent from his parents
- A.B. is “exclusively entitled” to consent to medical treatment for his gender dysphoria
- Any attempt to persuade A.B. to abandon treatment or references to A.B. as a girl or using female pronouns “shall be considered to be family violence” under the Family Law Act.
Ultimately, this case clearly shows despite not having the consent of both parents, a minor in B.C has the ability to consent to a life altering procedure.
Even though the research on hormonal treatments on minors is far from comprehensive or conclusive, the Supreme Court of B.C. has determined that failing to provide a minor with this treatment constitutes a greater risk to the child’s safety and long term well being than proceeding with the treatment.