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Mastectomy win in Family Court for girl, 15, after sex-change plea

Original Source: The Australian

The Family Court has given a 15-year-old child permission to have both breasts removed so she can feel more like a boy.

The decision is believed to be the first in which the court has ­approved major surgery for a child who wishes to change gender, ­before they have even started hormone treatment. The child, known in court documents as Quinn, was born female but has dressed as a boy since the age of four.

Unlike many children who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, she has not been taking hormones to suppress puberty, and has therefore developed large breasts, which the court has said should come off now, because once she starts taking testosterone, she “will develop a hairy chest and face (to go with) an E-cup”.

The court took evidence from a psychologist, who cannot be named, who said: ‘Society has begun to accept transgender individuals, however I am highly doubtful they would accept an ­individual with a beard, hairy chest and an E-cup bust.”

While there is no hard-and-fast rule on whether the court can ­approve such surgery for children, the decision would appear to be at odds with comments made by senior Family Court judge Steven Strickland, who told an inter­national conference on family law last year that “surgery is not considered in patients less than 18 years of age”.

He also said: “Cross-sex hormone therapy is usually given from the age of 16 years (and) surgery is not considered in patients less than 18 years of age. This process for psychological and medical treatment of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria ­accords with national and inter­national guidelines.”

The normal process for children diagnosed with gender dysphoria in Australia is for the child to start hormonal treatment to suppress puberty from age 14 or 15; and for parents to then seek the court’s permission for stage two treatment, where a child is given hormones of the opposite gender, from about the age of 16.

This allows a child to live as their preferred gender for a period of time, and to perhaps change their mind, before having surgery, such as the removal of the breasts or even the penis.

However, in the Quinn case, judge Judith Rees said the child, who is 15, wanted to have a bilateral mastectomy — also known as “top surgery” — to get rid of her breasts as soon as possible.

Read the full article here.

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