Transgender teenagers were “risking their lives” to buy hormones on the black market, advocates said.
Children with gender dysmorphia will no longer have to get the Family Court’s permission before starting hormone therapy, a federal court ruled on Thursday.
Prior to the landmark ruling, Australia was the only country in the world that required a court’s permission before hormone therapy was administered. However, mounting pressure from advocacy groups, lawyers, and transgender people for the requirement to be overturned forced the federal court to re-evaluate the law.
On Thursday, the family court handed down its decision that a court decision was not necessary to approve hormone therapy in cases where a child had given consent, the treating medical practitioners agreed that the child was competent to give that consent, and when the parents of the child did not object, the Guardian reported.
Anna Brown, the director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, described the decision as a “stunning victory” for young transgender people.
“Doctors and parents are able to make decisions about every other kind of medical treatment for young people – including ethically complex decisions that weigh up risks and the consequences of not undergoing treatment – and gender dysphoria should be no different,” she said.
Advocacy argued the expense to go to court had forced some trans teens to choose dangerous alternative routes. Hilary Kincaid, a solicitor at the Inner City Legal Centre, estimated that private firms charge between $10,000 and $15,000, not including the cost of getting expert medical reports for evidence.
Director of the gender service at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Associate Professor Michelle Telfer, told ABC she has had patients who have bought hormones illegally because they could not access the court system.
She said the pills were usually a medley of different hormones, leading to “really serious life-threatening complications,” such as blood clots, strokes, and pulmonary emboli.
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