Canada: Misgendering kids and preventing transitioning can constitute child abuse

VANCOUVER—Courts have ruled in favour of a teenager who wants medical treatment in his gender transition, despite the opposition of his father, in a ruling that grants trans kids more legal rights and protections.

Last month the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that a teenager, with the support of multiple doctors and health-care workers, can start hormone therapy even though his father thinks he’s not mature enough to make such a decision. The father appealed the decision on March 4.

Legal experts say the decision will have an impact on the responsibilities of parents by altering family law. It means parents need to respect their kids’ chosen gender, pronouns and name. It also sets a precedent for transitioning youth across the province, suggesting that seeking medical assistance is a health decision and not a political or moral one that a parent can stop.

The ruling, which doesn’t include the names of the family members, explains that the 14-year-old, who was assigned as female at birth, has identified as a boy since he was 11. With the support of his mom and doctors, he wanted to start testosterone hormone therapy in the summer of 2018. However, his father opposed the treatment and took the issue to court.

The mother, son, medical professionals, teachers, school district, and B.C.’s Ministry of Education fought back. The ruling has significant implications for how we define child abuse, according to trans rights lawyer Adrienne Smith. Because of the ruling, “misgendering a person, using the incorrect name for them and trying to persuade them not to undertake gender-affirming care are forms of family violence, and that’s really important,” Smith said.

In other words, if parents misgender and reject their kid for being transgender, that could constitute emotional abuse, for which they could be reported to authorities. Read more via The Star