An Australian couple whose child was reportedly seized by state authorities is appealing a magistrate’s ruling finding them abusive and “dangerous” for resisting testosterone therapy for their daughter, who identifies as male.
Lawyers for the unidentified parents filed papers last week seeking to appeal a magistrate’s October decision, setting up what appears to be the country’s first test case on parental rights regarding gender dysphoria medicine, the Australian newspaper reported on Saturday. Their child, then 15, was taken away from the family last year, after discussing suicide online.
“The authorities say we will not allow her to change gender, so it’s dangerous for told her to come back to our house because we will mentally abuse her,” the father the Australian. “They want us to consent to testosterone treatment.”
The parents are seeking an independent psychological review of all possible causes of their child’s depression, as well as consideration of non-invasive treatment options. The teen struggled after losing friends at 13, when the family relocated, and those difficulties were compounded by a difficult start to puberty and anxiety about eating and body image, the mother said.
The family migrated to Australia a decade ago, the newspaper said, without identifying their native country. The magistrate found that the teen likely suffered verbal abuse over “his feelings and expression of gender identity,” which the parents denied.
Lawyers for the child earlier this month filed papers seeking approval to begin hormone therapy.
A Twitter commenter who said her own daughter suffered from rapid onset gender dysphoria, said state interventions such as in the Australia case mark “the end of parenting as we knew it.”
“We have no rights. Our children can be seriously harmed by the government and medical profession, and we are powerless to stop it.”
As the debate on treatment for gender dysphoria heats up in Australia, some US states are creating exceptions to parental consent laws to enable children to get such treatments as hormone therapy and sex-change surgeries without parental consent. Starting this year, children as young as 13 in Washington state have been allowed to obtain confidential treatment for gender dysphoria, billed to their parents insurance plan and done without parental consent.
“Hard to overstate how radical this is,” Abigail Shrier, journalist and ‘Irreversible Damage’ author, tweeted. “States are intervening in a loving relationship between parent and minor child and declaring: ‘We will physically transform the child against your wishes and behind your back.’”