What would you do if a man who you care about told you that he wanted to become a woman. That he was living a painfully difficult life, a tortured life, in the body he was born with. Would you support his decision to change his gender?
And what if that man was not a man but a boy. What if you had a son, a boy of only 12-years-old – a child but someone mature enough to know what he wants – and he told you he wished he was a girl. What would you do then?
In a recent Australian case, a 12-year-old child who was born physically male was granted approval by the Family Court of Australia to start puberty-blocking drugs.
The child – known as Jodie – had been living as a girl for some time, after telling her parents that she didn’t feel comfortable living as a boy.
The Family Court heard arguments from Jodie’s lawyers that Jodie would suffer serious psychological and emotional harm if she were to experience the effects of male puberty, after having – quite deliberately – chosen to be raised as a girl. The court granted Jodie approval to start Stage 1 quarterly injections; these injections will stop her voice from deepening and prevent any facial hair growth.
Whether or not Jodie will be allowed to progress to receiving Stage 2 drugs – oestrogen treatments, which would stimulate breast growth and start the physical transition to becoming female – is currently unknown.
Why? Because the legality of that is currently the subject of another case that is before the Full Court appeal.
The second case involves Jamie – who was only 11-years-old when her parents first went to the courts with the request that their Jamie be allowed to undergo treatment to facilitate a physical transition from male to female.
Like Jodie, Jamie has also been living as a girl for most of her childhood. And Jamie’s parents are now arguing that their daughter should not just be allowed to prevent the onset of male puberty on her young body but that she should be able to access oestrogen treatments once she turns sixteen.