One brave little girl!!
Isabelle is transgender, and describes herself as “cursed with some physical characteristics” that mean her body doesn’t match her identity as a girl. Her childhood has not been an easy journey. (thanks to buzzfeed.com)
“I have tried to hurt myself, and questioned whether I want to be here in my darkest times,” she said.
Once she is old enough, Isabelle wants to take cross-sex hormones, also known as stage two treatment, which will allow her to go through puberty and develop as a girl. But her life is laced with fear and worry, as she knows in order to access this treatment, she has to go to court and get approval.
“I don’t just want to access stage two treatment,” she said. “I need to.”
It’s the first time these children, their families, and medical experts have come together in a concerted lobbying effort to remove the role played by the Family Court when it comes to accessing stage two treatment.
Australia is the only country in the world where transgender children must get court approval to start hormone treatment.
This delay places enormous stress on transgender children, who face alarmingly high rates of self-harm and suicide if they cannot access treatment.
At the event run by the Parliamentary Friends of LGBTI Australians, 15-year-old Georgie Stone said having to go to court made her feel “lost and hopeless”.
“I had to go to court to be who I already am,” she said. “Only I have the right to determine what goes into my body.”
However, caught in a lengthy court process, Georgie had to wait – and she became increasingly anxious and withdrawn as she worried about her voice breaking.
Typically, the medical treatment a transgender child receives is looked at in two different “stages”.
The first is “puberty blockers”, a reversible treatment started at the onset of puberty that effectively suspends the child’s body in time, preventing them from developing secondary sex characteristics such as a broken voice or breasts.
In 2013, Georgie and her family won an appeal that sealed the right for transgender children to access stage one treatment without having to go to court.
However, the court ruled that for stage two treatment – taking cross-sex hormones that will develop their body into the gender they identify as – people aged under 18 still needed court approval.
This court process can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 and take 8-12 months to reach an outcome. Judges rely entirely on the medical testimony from doctors, and no child has ever been denied treatment.
Dr Michelle Telfer, a pediatrician at the Gender Service at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, said that of transgender kids who cannot access treatment, 50% self-harm and 30% attempt suicide.
Change the laws!!! That would be my advice.