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Judge dismisses B.C. mom’s attempt to block son’s gender affirming surgery

Mother had argued that son could not provide informed consent
B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Editor’s note: The article below contains mentions of self harm and suicide that may be triggering. The BC Crisis Centre’s distress line is available at 1-800-784-2433.

A B.C. Supreme Court judged has ruled against a mother wishing to stop her 18-year-old son from having gender affirming surgery.

Last month, the mother sought an injunction restraining the surgeon from performing a double mastectomy, or any surgery, on her son. The surgery had been scheduled for the day after the hearing.

The mother had argued that the 18-year-old, his father and the surgeon had failed to satisfy the requirements of Section 17 of the Infants Act, which requires a minor to give informed consent for any medical treatment. Further, the mother argued that Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms entitles her to the right to make decisions in the best interest for her child.

The son in question was diagnosed has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and has been receiving testosterone for multiple years. He said that by the age of seven, “he asked his mother if he could change his body into a boy’s body.” The mother was involved in the decision to let her son begin testosterone therapy in November 2019.

The teenage boy said he told his mother about the surgery and she had known about it for at least one month prior to the surgery date.

His medical team has stated that he “understands the nature and consequences and the reasonably foreseeable benefits and risks of surgery…a gender affirming mastectomy surgery is in the best interest of (the 18-year-old).”

The teen noted that his chest worsened his gender dysphoria, while his father said that the date of the surgery would allow him to heal and focus on schooling and preparing for post-secondary.

“I am worried about his mental health if his long-awaited operation is delayed. He has been suicidal in the past and I would like him to not have to feel that again,” the father stated.

Justice Brenda Brown found that “foregoing surgery will have a significant impact on (the teen). As such, the balance of convenience favours the respondents and favours proceeding with the surgery.”

Brown dismissed the mothers’ application and said that she must cover her son’s and the father’s legal fees.


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