Australian Family Court allows 15-year-old girl to have breasts removed as part of gender reassignment journey

By @vitthernandez on
Transgender Man
Topher Logan relaxes at home in his Brooklyn apartment, February 14, 2007. Logan, 28, refers to himself as a "queer transman", meaning he was born as female, but identifies as a male and has relationships with women, men and other transgender people. Reuters/Erin Siegal

Governments and courts have made it relatively easier for people with gender dysphoria condition to change sex such as the funding by the National Health Services (NHS) of Britain of fertility treatments for transgender men who retained their female reproductive system to get pregnant. In Australia, the Family Court just allowed a 15-year-old girl to undergo mastectomy to initiate her journey to becoming a boy.

The landmark decision that allows a minor to have both breasts removed, a major surgery leading to gender reassignment, could open the door for other young Australians grappling with gender identity issues to also seek legal remedy. The teen was born female, but since age four, felt like a boy.

The mastectomy would precede her taking testosterone hormones which would provide her masculine features such as facial and body hair. Since she did not take hormones to suppress puberty, the 15-year-old developed large breasts, and what the court wanted to avoid was her having a hairy chest and an E-cup breast after the start of hormone therapy, reports The Australian.

Among the reasons why Judge Judith Rees granted the teen’s petition is the testimony of a psychologist who says that even if society has started to accept transgender men and women, the medical expert doubts if it “would accept an individual with a beard, hairy chest and an E-cup bust.” The verdict, however, goes against the comments of Family Court senior judge Steven Strickland, made during a global summit on family law in 2015, that surgery should not be considered for patients below 18 years old.

In setting 18 as the minimum age for surgery and 16 for cross-sex hormone therapy, Strickland cites national and international guidelines on gender dysphoria. Australia allows children diagnosed with the condition to begin hormone treatment to suppress puberty by 14 or 15, but requires court approval to start hormone treatment for the opposite gender at 16.

The gap allows the child to trial living his or her preferred gender but leaves him or her enough time, in case of change of mind, before undergoing surgery that involves removal of breast or penis. Rees acknowledges the guidelines having a different but older age, however, says exceptions are allowed. The judge took into account a second psychologist’s opinion that the teen would benefit from improved mental health if her breasts are surgically removed now.

According to the teen’s mother, her daughter’s depression over her large breasts worsened as time passed without the double mastectomy, reports Herald Sun. The teen expresses willingness to take risks which come with the procedure such as pain, infection and limited mobility for weeks until healing.

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Source: NewsBeat Social