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Court backs transgender teen in row with parents

A teenager who declared himself transgender may cut off all contact with his adoptive parents, a court has declared.

The boy, now 16, was diagnosed two years ago with ‘gender dysphoria’ – the belief that a person’s actual gender is opposite to their biological one. Having been born female, he spent time at a clinic for people with gender issues and adopted a male name by deed poll. However, the couple who had adopted him a decade earlier had difficulty coming to terms with this decision and continued to use his previous name. This reportedly caused the teen “great annoyance and distress”.

He then decided to cut himself off from his parents, saying he wanted no further involvement. The unnamed youngster has twice taken overdoses of pills, most recently in January this year. He currently lives with foster carers.

Hoping for an eventual reconciliation, the couple applied to court to be allowed quarterly updates on their former daughter’s life and progress. But he would not agree to this, insisting that his parents receive no information whatsoever – not even if he was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment, explained Mr Justice Keehan.

“The depths of his wishes are conveyed by his view that if he suffered a serious accident and underwent emergency surgery he would not want to wake and find his parents at his bedside.”

The Judge continued:

“The situation in which P and the parents find themselves is extremely difficult for each party. The parents struggle to understand P’s position, feelings and his decision about his gender. He struggles to understand their complete lack of support and understanding. The upshot is that he, at 16 years of age, has decided to completely disengage from family life with them.”

The Court had to respect the teen’s wishes, the Judge added, but he “very much” hoped that the three would eventually reconcile. The best way to achieve that would be for the Court to respect his current determination to cut himself off from the couple.

The judgement is here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Nemo Momenti says:

    Tragic to see such damage caused by adoption.

  2. Luke says:

    I feel sorry for the adopting parents 🙁

  3. Stitchedup says:

    Tragic… Where’s the counselling, where’s the support? But most of all where’s the sense?

  4. A week in family law: Cases and court fees – Marilyn Stowe Blog says:

    […] transgender sixteen year old can cut off all contact with his adoptive parents, Mr Justice Keehan has ruled. The boy, who was adopted when he was six, was referred to the […]

  5. Biklaw says:

    Tragic…I sense sorry for the adopting mother.

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