A small win in the fight for transgender rights.
Parents of transgender children are now allowed to give consent for their child to take puberty blockers.
The High Court made the decision on Friday (26 March).
This comes nearly four months after the court ruled that children under the age of 16 considering gender reassignment are ‘unlikely’ to be mature enough to provide consent.
The controversial ruling was made in regards to a case between Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and Keira Bell, a 23-year-old woman who began taking puberty blockers aged 16 before detransitioning.
Due to the court’s decision, many LGBTQ+ activists worried about how transgender children would be affected.
The ruling also left medical professionals and families confused in regards to the subject of consent.
Today, we celebrate some progress, and some recognition, of what has been a painful and often lonely fight for some in the trans community and their families.
Read more on this morning’s High Court ruling – just in. https://t.co/0ObTjt8LoY
— Good Law Project (@GoodLawProject) March 26, 2021
Although the court decided that under-16’s were unable to consent to puberty blockers, the ruling did not outline a plan if the parents, child and doctor both agreed to hormone therapy.
This confusion led to a 15-year-old transgender girl – identified as XY – and her parents bringing a case to the court requesting the approval to give consent for the use of puberty blockers.
XY was going through her transition at the time of the December ruling.
Speaking on the decision to allow parental consent for puberty blockers, the Judge presiding over the case stated: “In my view, the factors identified in (Ms Bell’s case), which I fully agree with, do not justify removing the parental right to consent.
“The gravity of the decision to consent to puberty blockers is very great, but it is no more enormous then consenting to a child being allowed to die.”
The judge also spoke on XY’s parents and the thorough research and steps they took relating to puberty blockers.
“It does appear from (the mother’s) witness statement that she and (the father) have been careful and cautious in their approach to the treatment, have tried to become as well informed as possible and have sought at various stages to take matters slowly,” the judge stated.
The Good Law Project, which funded the case, opened up about the ruling in a new statement.
“It is not unreasonable to describe this morning’s decision as in large part reversing the practical effects of [Ms Bell’s case],” they wrote.
Even with the huge win, the overarching banning of puberty blockers for trans children is still in effect.
The organisation has requested NHS England to reverse the ban due to Friday’s decision.
“Trans children have been denied puberty blockers since 1 December 2020,” they wrote.
“The consequences is that hundreds or thousands of children have experienced permanent and irreversible changes to their bodies, changes inconsistent with their gender.
“Which will require serious surgery to ameliorate and which have caused very real distress.”
The ruling on the Bell case is currently being challenged and will head to the Court of Appeal in June 2021.