WHENEVER progressives make gains, we find ourselves with less freedom and less respect for the individual. One small favoured group’s freedom to act as they wish too often means the reduction of the freedom of the majority.
In the latest front in the culture war, parental rights and responsibilities are being discarded by a relentless transgender ideology and its progressive advocates in politics and the judiciary. Last week the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that a trans-identifying 14-year-old girl could be given testosterone injections against her father’s wishes.
The judge ruled that if the father insisted on assuming his parental rights it would be tantamount to ‘family violence’. The court also ruled that if either parent referred to the girl using female pronouns or addressed her by her birth name, this too would be considered family violence.
The girl’s parents are divorced and the first her father knew about his daughter Maxine’s gender confusion was when he found her referred to as Quinn in her school year book. She was then aged 12.
Maxine’s school district in Delta, British Columbia, had decided that ‘Quinn’ should be treated, for all intents and purposes, as a boy. Her school counsellor, who had encouraged her to identify as a boy, helped choose the new name.
That Maxine’s father was not informed of this development is legal in British Columbia. The school district was operating by the BC Ministry of Education’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy, according to which parents have no right to know their child’s ‘preferred sex, gender, or name’ at school.
Maxine’s father did not reject her transgender decision outright. He had no problem with her exploring the role of being male. He even bought her a transgender pride flag for her room. It was the irreversible effects of testosterone treatment which disturbed him. He also considered she might be her moving into transgenderism too quickly.
Maxine had struggled emotionally with her parents’ separation, exhibiting behavioural problems and depression. During the school year when she took on a transgender identity, as well as being removed from one class for stalking a male teacher, Maxine had apparently also gone through a lesbian phase. Her father wondered if this new transgender phase might likewise fade away.
Maxine’s school counsellors were determined her transition be supported. They referred Maxine and her mother to Wallace Wong, a psychologist and prominent LGBT activist. He in turn referred Maxine to BC Children’s Hospital for testosterone injections when she was only 13.
During her first hospital visit, Dr Brenden Hursh and his colleagues decided Maxine should begin having testosterone injections to develop a more masculine appearance. The hospital staff asked Maxine’s parents for permission to begin testosterone treatment. Her father refused to sign.
After failing to persuade him to give permission, the hospital eventually declared they didn’t need parental permission anyway. On December 1, 2018, Dr Hursh informed Maxine’s father that testosterone injections would begin in two weeks on the basis of the child’s consent alone. They argued that Maxine, by now 14, was a ‘mature minor,’ who could receive treatment against the wishes of both her parents, according to section 17 of the BC Infants Act.
Maxine’s father took legal action, filing a motion in the Provincial Court temporarily preventing the treatment. However, the court declared Maxine ‘exclusively entitled to consent to medical treatment for gender dysphoria’ regardless of the opinions of either of her parents.
The court did not stop there but stated that ‘attempting to persuade [Maxine] to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria; addressing [Maxine] by his birth name; referring to [Maxine] as a girl or with female pronouns whether to him directly or to third parties; shall be considered to be family violence under s. 38 of the Family Law Act’.
Responding to the court’s ruling Maxine’s father said: ‘The government has taken over my parental rights. They’re using [Maxine] like she’s a guinea pig in an experiment . . . Is BC Children’s Hospital going to be there in five years when she rejects [her male identity]? No, they’re not. They don’t care. They want numbers.’
Maxine’s father mistrusts BC Children’s Hospital’s diagnosis: ‘These activists are taking over, and it’s not in the interests of our kids. It’s in the interests of self-promotion and the things that they want to do and accomplish.’
Studies show that the majority of children diagnosed by sex-change clinics with gender dysphoria have ended up embracing their natal sex as adults. Maxine’s father referred to recent reports concerning England’s Tavistock Clinic indicating that some transgender practitioners have bowed to intense pressure from trans activists to fast-track children into inappropriate hormone treatments.
Her father continues to refer to Maxine as a girl ‘because she is a girl. Her DNA will not change through all these experiments that they do’. Although realising this might be in breach of the court’s interdict, he feels he cannot honestly do otherwise. Although tolerant of his daughter’s transgender identity, he is unwilling to regulate his objective statements to media outlets by a misattribution of his daughter’s sex.
Maxine’s father plans to appeal against the decision. Herb Dunton, the father’s lawyer, told Canada’s National Post: ‘He believes his child does not understand the risks and consequences of the gender transition treatment and the harm that can come to the child. The father does not believe his case for the protection of the child was heard by the BC Supreme Court.’
However, for now and for Maxine, the judge’s decision stands: the confused 14-year-old will begin taking testosterone against a parent’s wishes on the sole basis of her own consent.