Discourse

Children should not be taken into government care when parents refuse 'gender-affirming' treatment

The state uses the pretext of gender identity to justify acts of unjustified aggression against parents who are protecting their children who cannot comprehend the consequences of their actions.
Erin Perse
Erin Perse London, UK

Parents' rights to raise their children as they see fit are under attack from a new angle: when they don't allow their child to take puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, in many places, social services are now able to remove the child from their family.

In Washington State, parents' rights are being railroaded using trans identity as justification. Since January, children aged 13 and over can obtain confidential treatment for mental health conditions, and gender dysphoria, using their parents' health insurance but they do not need to obtain their parents' consent to do so.

Yes, you read that right.

In an even more sinister move, the state is proposing a bill to establish clinics on school campuses. Parents understandably fear that those who staff these clinics will persuade children to take puberty blockers and wrong-sex hormones to make their bodies resemble the opposite sex.

The English high court ruled in December that children aged 16 and under cannot consent to experimental puberty blockers—the drug triptorelin, or Lupron, which is otherwise licensed to chemically castrate male sex offenders, and treat advanced prostate cancer—and mega-doses of wrong-sex hormones.

The decision of the court in favour of the applicant Keira Bell has opened the way for clinical negligence claims by other children who have been harmed. Indeed, in the UK medical negligence  lawyers have been accepting detransitioner clients since mid-2020.

"There was nothing wrong with my body," Bell said. As a child she balked against feminine sex stereotypes, but it was watching teen girl transitions on YouTube which lead her to believe she must actually be a boy trapped in a girl's body.

"The women that I saw through the internet still seemed to be comfortable with their bodies and having sexual relationships. So, I think that I began to doubt myself and I began to think that there must be more to it. When I stumbled upon transsexualism, that was me – I was meant to be a boy. It made absolute sense to me and I related so strongly to those women [online] that had started to undergo medical transition. I felt that I needed to start with medical transition as soon as possible in order to achieve my happiness," she said.

Providers of "trans healthcare" worldwide will have to consider the implications of the ruling, with a focus on whether they will be able to afford the substantial litigation risk of continuing to mutilate children's healthy bodies to cure conditions which are psychosocial in origin.

The erosion of parental rights by gender identity ideology is not confined to the US. In Australia, a judge ruled that parents were being "abusive" for resisting collusion in their daughter's sterilization by 'trans-affirming' experimental medical procedures. Authorities removed the 15-year-old from her parents, for a year, after she spoke online about having intense negative feelings. The Children’s Court granted a protection order, which the parents will appeal.

The parents deny that they behaved abusively. Both parents oppose trans medical procedures on the basis that they are invasive, irreversible and do not look at other psychological issues. They say they are grieving the loss of their child and object to being bullied by the authorities.

"(The authorities say) we will not allow her to change gender, so it's dangerous for her to come back to our house because we will mentally abuse her—they want us to consent to testosterone treatment," the father told an interviewer.

Patrick Parkinson, Queensland University's dean of law, said he believed the teenager's removal for reasons of gender identity was the first of its kind. He called it "a very troubling development."

In the UK, there have been similar cases, although this week’s ruling in the Bell case may mean that there are no more. In 2019, the parents of an autistic teenage boy were warned he would be taken into care after they objected to him being given puberty blockers and wrong-sex hormones.

Fearful that the drugs would cause irreversible harm, and that his cross-sex ideation was a result of his autism, the parents prevented him from attending the gender clinic. The boy's school then reported the parents to social services for trying to protect their own son from making a grave mistake. The local authority placed the boy under a child protection plan after social workers concluded he was likely to suffer 'significant harm' in his parents’ care.

His mother said, "I'm absolutely devastated. When I saw the report that social services wrote about us and saw the words 'emotional abuse,' I just broke down. All we were doing was trying to get him to pause and think about his actions. My biggest worry as a mum is my child gets pushed down this route, becomes a woman, goes through the surgery, then gets to 25 and says, 'I’ve made a mistake.'"

Retrospectively, the findings of the high court affirm that those parents were well within their rights to parent as they did, and that the school and social services were in the wrong. The parents were right to attempt to protect their child from negligence and malfeasance on the part of the authorities.

It is clear that we are in perilous waters, here, as the state uses the pretext of gender identity to justify acts of unjustified aggression against parents who are doing their job: protecting children who are not mature enough to comprehend the consequences of their actions.

Gender dysphoria is a transient mental state in all but a very small number of sufferers. 90 percent of children who experience the form of body dysmorphia which manifests in dissociation from the sexed body will grow out of it. It is a temporary affliction. As such, how can it be right for the state to break up a family so that the child can make their temporary mental affliction a permanent, concretized, lifelong physical condition?

The pattern which is emerging is that the presumed rights of the child to give informed consent to trans medical procedures trumps the right of a parent to protect their offspring from irreversible harm. That more parents are not joining together to shout from the rooftops about this is puzzling. Perhaps, with the Keira Bell judgment being reported around the world, that is about to change.

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