The High Court of the United Kingdom has affirmed the right of a 4-year-old boy to live as a girl.
As reported in the media, the facts of the case are a bit complicated and all names have been removed from reports. It appears that a foster couple was sending their their four-year-old son to school in a girl's uniform. Social workers accused them of being too quick to recognise the child (“H”) as suffering from gender dysphoria. They complained that the couple had “actively encouraged” the child and threatened to remove the child.
The couple riposted by producing expert reports extolling their parenting skills in glowing terms and the social workers retreated. Unhappy, though, that their child-rearing intuitions had been questioned, the couple brought the case to the court to seek affirmation and exoneration.
Justice Williams obliged. He described them as “attuned and careful” parents and said that H had not been harmed by a “complete transition into a female occurring at a very young age”.
“It is self-evident that it is not in the children's welfare interests for these proceedings to continue any further,” he said. “The lives of this family should now proceed on the basis that those concerns were comprehensively dispelled'.
However, the judge omitted some facts about the family. They have another child, “R”, aged 13, who socially transitioned at 7-years-old. H is adopted and transitioned at 4; he is now 6. Another foster child (age unknown), who was with the family for three and a half years and left in 2007, also had gender identity issues.
The decision was criticised by the blog Transgender Trend, which follows such cases carefully. “This family court decision sets a dangerous precedent. There must be no area of childcare handed over to ideologues, no approach which casts aside established knowledge of child development and psychology, and no treatment of children given a free pass because in this one area we have decided that normal rules do not apply. No child should be placed outside normal safeguarding and duty of care. Put simply, this judgment creates a loophole and puts vulnerable children at risk.”
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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