The Christian parents of a 14-year-old girl who claims to want to transition to a boy have been forced to take legal action against their local council after it backed the girl’s decision.
The girl’s parents say their child is too young to make such a far-reaching decision. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the girl’s mother told The Sunday Times that she believed parental responsibility should take precedence until a minor was 16 or 18.
“The rights of parents in the UK are being eroded, especially those who have traditional Christian values. It is leaving parents to feel fearful, vulnerable and intimidated,” she said.
“We were told by the psychiatrist that CAHMS [Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services] said that if the name change does not happen then she would be a high suicide risk.”
The parents are due to meet with teachers and social workers in November to decide whether the girl should be known at school by her given name or a boy’s name which she has chosen. However, the family’s lawyer, Michael Phillips, of Andrew Storch solicitors, said he feared the girl could be taken into care if the family did not follow the social workers’ guidance.
Phillips said the law was unclear about the balance between parental authority and children’s rights: “Under the age of 18 a person is considered a child. They may be granted limited rights after the age of 16. The assumption is that a parent is acting in the best interests of the child, unless proven otherwise, for example, by a local authority in care proceedings. The child has a right to be listened to, and we see this enshrined in the Children Act 1989.”
Although the girl has always been a tomboy, wearing sporty clothing from a young age, she began to feel as though she may be transgender in March. By June, the council was already referring to her as a boy in correspondence, the family have said, and referring to her by her chosen name.
She has formed a close relationship with a 13-year-old girl, which social workers have described as heterosexual because she is deemed by them to be transgender.
A psychiatrist has now asked the family for permission to refer her to the Tavistock Centre in London, which treats children with drug therapies to prepare them for a sex change.
The mother said she and her husband believed her daughter may have mental health issues, including depression, as she has self-harmed. They also believe she may be on the autistic spectrum. Yet she said that social workers and CAHMS were “pushing the transgender issue” instead of focussing on these problems.
This case comes as news emerged of a case heard by the High Court in London in which a seven-year-old boy was removed from the care of his mother who was insisting on raising him as a girl.
The judge in the case said that he believed the mother had been “absolutely convinced” that the boy “perceived himself as a girl”, yet he found that “significant emotional harm” had been done to the boy by his mother.
The child quickly reverted to displaying masculine interests when placed in the care of his father.
Andrea Williams of The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the girl’s family and funding their legal costs, said: “The transgender cultural movement is creating a new ‘conflict of rights’ within the family. This is the emperor’s new clothes. Authorities are forcing an agenda that is not true, and harmful to children.
“This case demonstrates shocking disregard for parental authority: no one is listening to what the parents want or have to say. The know the child the best, and have the child’s interests at heart.”