Major court decision for transgender youth

Paul Hayes

1/12/2017 12:28:26 PM

Transgender teenagers in Australia will no longer face a lengthy legal process in order to access hormone treatment following a landmark ruling by the Family Court of Australia.

Transgender teenagers will no longer require legal approvals to access Stage 2 hormone treatment.
Transgender teenagers will no longer require legal approvals to access Stage 2 hormone treatment.

The decision by the Family Court was in response to Re Kelvin, a case brought by the father of a 16-year-old transgender boy who was assigned female at birth.
Previously, young people experiencing gender dysphoria had to apply through the Family Court before they could start Stage 2 hormones (such as oestrogen and testosterone) and begin the puberty aligning with their identified gender. This process, which had been in place since 2004, required a series of reports from healthcare specialists and several trips to court, all of which could take a significant emotional toll on the young people involved.

‘The Family Court ruling is a huge relief,’ Professor Ruth McNair, a GP who works at an LGBTIQ-specific practice, told newsGP.
The court’s decision means transgender teenagers will no longer need legal approvals to access Stage 2 treatment, as long as three conditions are met:

  • The child consents to the treatment
  • The treating medical practitioners agree that the child is Gillick competent to give that consent (ie able to consent to medical treatment without the need for parental permission or knowledge)
  • The parents of the child do not object to the treatment
‘This court ruling will make access possible for the first time for many families who could not afford the court process, so I think we will now see even more adolescents seeking gender affirmation,’ Professor McNair said. ‘GPs will have an important role in referring young trans people to specialist services, as well as supporting their social and medical gender affirmation and their families.’

This article was updated to include Professor McNair’s comments, and to correct an error suggesting GPs prescribe puberty blockers.

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Pietas Nyamayaro   5/12/2017 1:39:16 PM

I am a GP I have no experience giving anyone puberty blockers, nor have I been trained in that as part of the GP curriculum. This is the first time I am hearing about this. This article puts undue pressure on GPs to do things that are beyond there capability.

Ruth McNair   5/12/2017 2:40:31 PM

The article was misleading on one point - paediatric endocrinologists usually prescribe puberty blockers (not GPs), however the family GP may administer the injections and support the family. A new online training module will be available in 2018 from the University of Melbourne for GPs regarding the care of trans and gender diverse children and adults. This should help with the current knowledge gap.