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Family law: Court of appeal lets teen continue hormone therapy

A transgender minor has been given the green light by an appeal court to proceed with hormone therapy. The British Columbia Court of Appeal handed down a solid family law ruling in a recent case in which a B.C. teen wanted to continue with hormone therapy despite the opposition of his father. The child was born female, but identifies as male, though the child's father tried to stop the hormone replacement therapy.

British Columbia's Supreme Court decided it was in the teen's best interests to continue with hormone replacement for gender dysphoria, but the child's father appealed the decision. The court went one step further stating the teen be referred to as male and those who address him should use his male name. The provincial Court of Appeal decided that the teen's wish to continue hormone replacement treatment is valid and that he would no longer need approval from his parents.

The appeal court, however, did disagree with a protection order brought against the father and instead issued a conduct order stipulating that the father could not publish information about the child's gender identity, physical and mental health, medical status or treatments. Some in the legal field suggest the court of appeal's ruling paves the way for similar cases that may come before the courts. The bottom line is when children make decisions about their own health and treatment, their decisions deserve respect, even if their parents disagree with those decisions and/or treatments.

These kinds of complex family law issues need the guidance and advice of a lawyer experienced in British Columbia family law. A lawyer may be able to offer suggestions to a client based on the laws that govern various issues like gender. Also, a lawyer knows the cases that define these laws and based on that knowledge may be able to help his or her client to clarify issues that seem confusing.

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