One of the biggest barriers to transgender kids in Australia accessing hormones – needing their treatment approved by the courts – may soon be removed as both Labor and the Coalition have said they may consider removing judicial oversight provisions.
This is something that Australia sorely needs to remove, and that is only further exemplified by the fact that they are the only country in the world that forces families to get permission from the courts before their children can fully transition. Judges can delay or outright deny stage two hormone therapy to kids. Even a delay can have harsh consequences on a young transgender person, as it is much better for them if they begin hormone therapy before puberty goes too far.
Victorian transgender teen Georgie Stone spoke to The Guardian Australia, saying how having to get court approval made her and her family feel powerless.
“There were changes happening to my body that I didn’t want and we had to apply to these people who didn’t even know us to make decisions about my body, which is just wrong. And I think it’s discriminatory and it has to change.”
Her mother also weighed in, saying: “I didn’t realise it would be so adversarial. The court process is slow but biology is fast, and so often there’s a high degree of tension; the stakes are high for your child.”
Naturally, she is cautiously hopeful about the signals coming from Labor and the Coalition that change may be afoot, but is calling on them to expedite the process.
“Our families can’t live on hope, we’ve been living on hope for a very, very long time. We need action and we need it to be done and then we’ll be able to give a sigh of relief, but hope is not sustaining.”
Mark Dreyfus, the shadow attorney general for Labor, has expressed sympathy for families currently going through this process.
“Labor is aware of this issue and the difficulty these court processes cause transgender children and their parents, and calls on the government to examine the issue.”
I think we can all agree that this law needs to be scrapped as soon as possible. Family courts deciding the fate of a young transgender person they don’t even know… I think we can all say that that is a decision best left to the person and their family.