B.C. Court of Appeal rules dad can't interfere in 15-year-old's gender reassignment - InfoNews

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B.C. Court of Appeal rules dad can't interfere in 15-year-old's gender reassignment

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January 12, 2020 - 12:00 PM

A teenager whose father took him to court in an attempt to prevent him from receiving gender reassignment treatment has won a long and complex court battle.

Judges at the Appeal Court of B.C. dismissed the majority of the boy's father's arguments who had appealed three earlier court judgements, which had prevented him from stopping his son's treatment, as well modified how he spoke to his child and restricted his ability to speak to the media on the matter.

The boy's father had appealed the earlier decisions saying they violated his Charter rights and his rights as a parent.

In the decision, Jan. 10, the judges largely dismiss the father's claims although do overturn several aspects of an earlier protection order which had restricted what the father could say about his son transition.

According to the decision, AB (all names have been italicized in the ruling) was assigned female at birth but perceives himself to be male and had identified as being male since age 11. While AB's mother supported her son, AB's father did not. The couple has separated but share parenting responsibilities.

At age 13, AB's went to a psychologist who diagnosed gender dysphoria. Following further assessments, AB, with the support of his mother, decided on hormone treatment. Although still a minor parental consent was not required as the health care provider was satisfied he understood the treatment’s consequences.

On hearing of his son's decision, CD (as the father is referred to in the court documents) launched legal action to stop his son from having hormone treatment in December 2018.

According to the decision, CD then proceeded to speak to a variety of rightwing publications about his son in what the judge classified as "family violence."

Subsequently, a court order was issued barring the father from attempting to persuade his son to abandon treatment, and that he could no longer address AB as a girl or use female pronouns.

According to the decision, the father repetitively breached the court orders, including repeatedly referring to him as a female in court.

In the decision, Justice Robert Bauman and Justice Barbara Fisher wrote, "in general, caution should be exercised in limiting a parent’s discretion, guided by their own opinion and belief... however... this is a unique case."

The judges go on to say the father's refusal to respect his son's gender identity is "troublesome" and has caused him "significant pain" and ruptured what was otherwise a loving parental relationship.

"He clearly wants and needs acceptance and support from his father," the judges write in the decision.

While the father is "fully entitled to his opinions and beliefs" reads the decision, AB is "now a mature 15-year-old" who has chosen hormone treatment and to legally change his name and gender identity.

The judges do, however, allow the father to express his opinion to his son about his choice to continue with hormone treatment. To prohibit this would be "to interfere too closely in the role of a parent" reads the decision.

— With files from The Canadian Press.


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