Was this child trans?

The Press Association reports that a child living with their mother, as a girl, has been removed from her care by a high court judge and given to their father. Now, they is settled with their father. The judge says,

“I am entirely satisfied, both on the basis of the reports and [the father’s] evidence at this hearing, that he has brought no pressure on (the boy) to pursue masculine interests. [The boy’s] interests and energy are entirely self-motivated.”

The boy’s mother “told me that [he] was ‘living in stealth’ by which was meant, she explained, that he was living life entirely as a girl”, said Mr Justice Hayden. “He dressed, at all times, like a girl and, it transpired, had been registered at a new general practitioner’s as a girl.”

The judge added: “I was also left in no doubt that [the mother] was absolutely convinced that [the boy] perceived himself as a girl.” Hayden said his “overwhelming impression” was that the woman “believes herself to be to fighting for [her son’s] right to express himself as a girl”.

She said they had expressed disdain for their penis.

The judge heard reports from a psychologist and social workers. “I consider that [the mother] has caused significant emotional harm to [her son] in her active determination that he should be a girl.” 

The father had started litigation because he had not had contact with his child. They had been registered with a GP as a girl, but not referred to the Tavistock clinic: instead, the GP had requested that a social worker visit.

The Sun’s angle was that social workers were incompetent, rather than underfunded. Hayden J: Concerns were dismissed on the basis that it was the other agencies who ‘did not have a full understanding of gender non-conforming children’. In fact, it was (social workers) and senior managers whose understanding was lacking.

The mother had taken the child out of school.

All the papers refer to the child as a boy, with male pronouns. Having read the reports, I tend to agree, so now will too. I hope the judge was open to the possibility that the child was a trans girl. There is no mention of the child’s own opinion, but as he is seven it appears the judge has relied on reports.

I hope he has got it right. The Sun reports concerns about the mother’s mental health, from some source it does not name in a report to the police. Other papers do not mention that: it appears they think impugning her mental health is not justified from the report. I would go to the source, the Associated Press, but it does not makes its reports freely available.

Children are malleable. They can be forced to present as the other gender. But we don’t know: why would the mother be certain her child was a trans girl, if he were not? Is she charged with abuse or neglect? Would a child, taken by the court from her mother and given to her father, be able to assert she was a trans girl even if she wanted to?

I want to post this quickly, so will google more, but have been reading a Daily Mail report from 2012. Lorraine Candy, editor of Elle, allowed her son to dress as a girl until his fifth birthday, but then told him this must stop- because she thought he would be ridiculed. “He was mildly upset but not unduly worried”, she writes. How much cross-gender play by children goes to gender clinics? How much do parents influence it?

I am certain we would be better off if children were encouraged to play as they wish, including cross-gendered. Putting on a dress does not mean your son will have a vaginoplasty later. Why restrict children at all?

discuss the court judgment here. Read how the judge explains how, and why, the mother could force a cis boy to live as a girl.

10 thoughts on “Was this child trans?

  1. Here is the statement from Mermaids, the trans children’s charity:

    Today as CEO of Mermaids I spent my morning supporting a Mother whose child was removed earlier this year, when the judge overseeing a contact case decided that the child was being emotionally abused as the Mum was forcing the child to live as female. Mermaids has known and supported this family for a number of years. This case is hugely upsetting as well as completely prejudicial. It is difficult to imagine the suffering this removal has caused both the Mum and the child, with no actual basis in truth.
    The Judge has now issued the judgement which not only brands the Mum as abusive, but will also have a huge impact on all families supporting a younger child to live as the gender they identify as. During the 3 years that Mermaids have supported this family there has been no evidence AT ALL to support this judges views.
    Mum has listened to her child and supported her unconditionally. There have been 2 independent gender specialists who have reviewed the family and agreed that Mum is not responsible for her child’s gender expression.
    This judgement is a disaster. In current times with laws protecting gender non-conforming children and young people, this judgement is deeply and profoundly shocking.
    Mermaids will continue to support the Mum and try to help to reverse this decision through appeal and any other avenue available. This cannot be allowed to stand.
    When people ask me how can a child this young decide, it makes me so angry. No child decides this. Most children are happy with their birth gender. But sometimes they are not. Sometimes this feeling will change in time. Sometimes it won’t. But listening and supporting your child so they know whatever the outcome they are loved for who they are is vital.
    If you are known to the press you may be asked for an opinion. If you are affected by this issue and need some support let us know. It is a very sad day.
    Below are some of the comments and posts I have received from parents who could potentially find themselves in a similar situation. Mermaids has supported thousands of people over the years. From a parent dealing with their child’s gender variance, to the teen whose parents refuse to acknowledge their identity. This is not a choice.

    Today I feel afraid. As a parent of a young transgender child, this fear is not new. It rises and falls, but never goes away. How can I protect my sweet child from so much ignorance, prejudice and hate. I’ve never felt so isolated and alone. Through many challenges, rejections, abuse – being called a terrible parent, my young daughter being called it, he-she, told she doesn’t even have a right to exist – the one life jacket I have clung to, that has stopped us from sinking as a family, is our clear legal protection under the Equalities act. Now, through the prejudice of one high court judge, this legal protection is being threatened. Yet those of us who are devastated, terrified, distraught, are too powerless and vulnerable to speak out openly against this hate. We are weak and feeling alone. We need allies. We need friends. We need you. This is a defining civil rights battle for the 21st century. If you do care, don’t stand silent and allow an already vulnerable and persecuted group of children to lose their right to exist. Our children and families face hostility, criticism, abuse, isolation every day. No loving parent would choose this for their child. I love my daughter to the moon and back. And I will not allow hard won rights and protections to be taken away by ignorance and hate. We need your help. Please share this post. Please sign the petition. Please be visible. We can’t do this on our own

    I am a community leader within the Transgender community, vice-chair of Sparkle – National Transgender Charity, Secretary of TMSA-UK (the largest trans Masculine peer support group in the country and Vice-Chair of the newly established Tempyouth service which is a transgender employment mentoring support service for people who are NEET aged 16-25.

    The judges decision is not made on the basis of good fact, it is deplorable that the mother here has been punished and in turn the child punished for being who they are, as a transgender person; it is a disgrace that anyone would prevent a child from being happy and themselves regardless of their gender presentation. THIS IS NOT ABUSE, it is a selfless act of love for their child.

    This must not be allowed to continue.

    With Concern;
    Jay Crawford


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