Teenage twin wins Family Court approval for sex change
Herald Sun, 23 January 2017
A 16-YEAR-OLD twin has been given approval to undergo a non-reversible sex change.
The Family Court approved the parents’ application for their child to undergo phase two treatment for gender dysphoria even though “Dallas” — a court provided pseudonym — has not undergone reversible phase 1 treatment.
Earlier this month Family Court judge Peter Tree called on the Federal Government to change the law to allow children to change their gender without having to go to court.
Delivering judgment on a separate but similar case involving 17-year-old “Lucas”, judge Tree said it was “inhumane” to force young people to get a judge’s permission to treat gender dysphoria.
“The sooner that (transgender) children and their families do not have to endure the ordeal of litigation in order to get on with their lives, the better.”
Others argue the court provides a useful check, particularly with the number of cases growing rapidly as community attitudes change.
At present, children diagnosed with gender dysphoria cannot start hormone treatment without going to court following a 2013 High Court ruling that parents alone do not have the power to make decisions about such serious, irreversible medical treatment.
The Royal Children’s Hospital treated just one child for gender dysphoria in 2003, and now deals with about 100 referrals a year.
In a statement last year, Attorney-General, George Brandis said: “The government is sensitive to the concerns of children and their families who are living with gender dysphoria and is actively considering options for reform.”
Born with the physical characteristics of a female, Dallas has a twin sister and a younger sibling.
The court heard he began identifying as a male at about 13 years but always thought he was a boy.
The year 10 student has dressed and presented as a boy for two years, including at school.
The Secretary of Department of Health and Community Services gave instructions not to intervene in the matter.
The court heard Dallas experiences discomfort and distaste about the present state of his body and looks forward to future surgery to align his physical body with his sense of self.
“He has made mention of his voice which in his own opinion ‘gives him away’ as female,” Judge Margaret Cleary said.
“The evidence strongly supports the fact that he is ready and wishes to proceed with phase 2 treatment.”
Judge Cleary found Dallas had sufficient understanding of the treatment and procedures to give consent to his own medical treatment and so declared him competent to consent to phase 2 testosterone hormone therapy treatment.