The British Columbia court of appeal ruled Friday that a 13-year-old girl was old enough to consent to testosterone shots despite her father’s objections that his troubled daughter had been influenced by transgender advocates and did not understand the long-term consequences of her decision.
The appeal ruling released January 10 also placed the father under a “conduct order” effective until April that directs him to acknowledge his now 15-year-old daughter as a male, to use male pronouns when referring to her, and to call her by her chosen male name.
Under a publication ban on any information that could identify the names of the parties, the father is referred to as “CD” and the daughter “AB.”
“While of course CD is fully entitled to his opinions and beliefs, he cannot forget that AB, now a mature 15-year-old, with the support of his (sic) mother and his [sic] medical advisors, has chosen a course of action that includes not only hormone treatment, but a legal change of his (sic) name and gender identity,” reads the ruling of B.C .Court of Appeal chief justice Robert Bauman, Justice Harvey Groberman and Justice Barbara Fisher.
The court issued a further conduct order directing CD not to “directly, or indirectly through an agent or third party, publish or share information or documentation relating to AB’s sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical health, medical status or therapies” other than with lawyers and medical personnel involved in the case.
They allowed that CD has the right “to express his opinion in his private communications with family, close friends and close advisors, provided none of these individuals is part of or connected with the media or any public forum, and provided CD obtain assurances from those with whom he shares information or views that they will not share that information with others.”
The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada, one of six intervenors in the case, lauded the court for striking down portions of earlier rulings against CD but blasted the conduct orders as infringing on the father’s freedom of expression and integrity.
The Court “seems to overlook, or at least does not discuss, how significant an infringement of freedom of thought, belief, and expression it remains to order a father to refer to AB as male and to use male pronouns when speaking to AB and to all but a few close family members and friends,” ARPA said in a Friday press release.
“Surely, if CD disagrees with AB that AB is a boy, AB will know this, and it achieves little or nothing good to force CD to use words he believes to be false,” it stated.
“Rather, it is a profound violation of his freedom, damaging to his integrity, and arguably damaging to his relationship with AB as well, even if it is what AB wants to hear.”
That was echoed by the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which also intervened in the appeal.
“The state cannot lawfully compel parents to voice agreement and support for an elective treatment which the parent believes is dangerous, harmful and against the interests of impressionable children[.] … The state cannot compel parents to forget their daughters and remember sons in their stead,” JCCF said in its factum.
CD, who is separated from his wife and who went to court last year to stop his daughter’s transition, was appealing Superior Court justice Gregory Bowden’s February 2019 ruling that his opposition to his daughter’s transition constituted “family violence.”
He was also appealing Superior Court justice Francesca Marzari’s April protection order that threatened him “with immediate arrest if he tried to persuade AB to abandon testosterone treatment, if he addressed AB by her birth name, or if he referred to AB as a girl or with female pronouns to her or to anyone, publicly or privately,” noted ARPA.
The upside of the appeals court ruling was that the judges struck down Marzari’s ruling and substituted it with conduct orders, which, unlike protection orders, “are not criminally enforced,” ARPA noted.
They also threw out Bowden’s finding that CD’s opposition to his daughter’s transition was “family violence” under the Family Law Act as without legal merit.
But the appeal court upheld Bowden’s ruling that AB could validly consent to medical treatment under Section 17 of B.C.’s Infants Act, which has the “legislative intent” to “recognize the autonomy of mature minors and the expertise and good faith of the health care providers.”
The Infants Act “has made it clear that health care professionals, not judges, are best placed to conduct inquiries into the state of medical science and the capacity of their patients when it comes to questions of minors’ medical decision-making.”
Moreover, in B.C .family law, “parental responsibilities are expressly subject to s. 17 of the Infants Act,” which in turn puts the child’s “best interests” in matters of health care “within the purview, at least initially, of the child’s ‘health care provider’.”
CD has argued that health care providers are promoting transitioning to his daughter, who is notably represented in court by long time “queer” activist Barbara Findlay.
CD described his daughter as “very vulnerable” in a February 2019 article in and believed she lacks the “mental capacity and emotional maturity” to make the decision to have testosterone treatments, which have irreversible effects.
According to earlier case documents, AB has been troubled since her parents separated in 2013, suffering depression and attempting suicide at least four times. She also went through a “lesbian stage” in Grade 7, then developed an intense crush on her Grade 8 gym teacher to the point where the school removed her from his class, triggering “a dramatic escalation in self-harm behaviour including suicide attempts.”
When AB claimed to be transgender at age 13, school staff sent her and her mother, without CD’s knowledge, to transgender activist psychologist Dr. IJ, who recommended she begin hormone therapy.
CD has since filed a complaint to the College of Psychologists of British Columbia, alleging that Dr. IJ unethically and unprofessionally led his child to seek a “transition.”
AB then went to see paediatric endocrinologist Dr. GH at the Gender Clinic at B.C. Children’s Hospital in August 2018, who recommended hormone treatment. CD objected but was told by Dr. GH in December 2018 his consent wasn’t required, that his daughter had consented to treatment, and that her mother supported the decision.
CD then went to court, and to the media, and the case received international attention.
Following Bowden’s February ruling, AB began testosterone treatments. In April, AB’s lawyers petitioned the court to compel CD to support his daughter’s transition, as well as to stop him talking publicly about the case, which led to Marzari’s protection order.
Underscoring the significance of the case, AB and her mother, EF, were joined as respondents by the attorney general of British Columbia, the British Columbia Ministry of Education, the Delta School District, the B.C. Children’s Hospital, IJ, and GH.
The intervenors also included the B.C. Children’s Hospital, the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH), West Coast Leaf Association, and Egale Canada Human Right Trust.
A longer version of this article appeared Jan 10 at LifeSiteNewsand is reprinted with permission.