Gender Identity and Parental Obstruction

When parents go to court to exert control

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Recently, I read a story in the local news that made me angry (not that that’s unusual lately). A mother had gone to court to try to block her 17-year-old from getting a gender-affirming double mastectomy. A BC Supreme Court judge issued an injunction to stop the surgery that was scheduled to happen the next day.

In British Columbia, the Canadian province where I live, there isn’t a set age of consent for medical procedures. The Infants Act covers anyone under the age of 19, and describes mature minor consent, which allows a minor to give consent independent of their parent’s wishes if a health care provider determines they are able to understand the elements of informed consent in the same way a competent adult would.

The mother has sued the doctor and surgeon involved to stop the surgery from going ahead without her consent until the Courts can make a determination around whether the minor has the capacity to consent. The mother is also seeking to block any sort of hormone therapy, and put a stop to the testosterone that the minor has been receiving for the last several months.

According to a CBC article, the mother stated through her lawyer that the minor was “caught up in a fad,” and she blamed a specific LGBTQ+ resource in the public education system for “pushing depressed and anxiety-ridden girls to gender-change clinics when what they need is psychiatric care.” Seriously?

In a similar case in 2019 involving a 15-year-old and gender-affirming hormone therapy, the Supreme Court rejected the parent’s case, and that ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

I find it really disgusting that parents are willing to choose ignorance and/or judgment over supporting their child, and choose invalidation over acceptance. They don’t have to understand, they don’t have to like it, but to ignore a mature minor’s decision-making capacity and go to court to force their child’s body to be a certain way that fundamentally contradicts their identity seems abusive. Talk to them, try to understand what their experience is. Don’t blame fads and the school system. Remove head from ass.

When people choose ignorance for themselves, that’s one thing, but when they try to bash their child over the head with it, that’s not okay. And I really hope that once this injunction runs out near the end of this month, the Court will kick this mother’s butt to the curb and affirm this mature minor’s right to whatever gender-affirming care they (I’m unsure of their pronouns of choice) need. I also hope that this teen has other people in their life who are prepared to step up to the plate and accept and validate them.

So yeah, I’m angry about this news story. Trans youth, and trans people in general, have enough shit they have to deal with without having this kind of obstructionist crap. They deserve so much better.

Originally published at on November 16, 2020.

Mental health blogger | Former MH nurse | Living with depression | Author of 3 books, latest is Managing the Depression Puzzle |

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