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Improving access to treatment for transgender children

By July 20, 2016No Comments

By Gianna Huesch

There is widespread acknowledgment by professionals that having to go through the court process in order to access hormone treatment is inherently traumatic for transgender children.

The Chief Justice of Family Court Diana Bryant has now called for the system to be overhauled, based on her experience of matters involving transgender children moving through the family court system.

Greater social acceptance is seen to be the reason behind hospitals reporting a spike in numbers of children identifying as transgender. Yet in order to access to hormone treatment, children identifying as transgender currently need approval from a family court judge, requiring them going through the stressful and often lengthy court process. Australia is unique in having this requirement in the world.

As usual when things drag through the courts, it can be very traumatic and expensive, costing “tens of thousands of dollars and taking up to 10 months for a hearing”. Not only that, but such delays due to the court process can delay medical treatment with “devastating effects”.

Chief Justice Bryant is asking the attorney-general’s department to hold a roundtable on the subject, involving major hospitals, experts, the attorney-general’s department and perhaps parents of transgender children. Bryant argues a simpler and more consistent method could be implemented, such as filing a simple application by consent.

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