Court rules transgender teenager can exclude parents completely from his life

Sonja Anker for Avadis & Co. Solicitors


A 16-year- old transgender teenager has won a battle in High Court to distance himself from his adoptive parents, who would not accept his transition.

At age 14, the teenager made the life changing decision to become a male – and was referred to Travistock Gender Identity Clinic with gender dysphoria. Later on he changed his name by deed poll.

The issue in this instance is that the boy’s adoptive parents refused to call him by his new name which culminated in “great annoyance and distress” for the boy, according to Justice Keehan. The boy, who has faced a history of drug abuse – accordingly came to the decision that he wants to sever all contact, and thus does not want his parents to receive information about his future life progress.

As the parents realized they could not claim the right to information with regard to his medical condition, they asked the court for quarterly updates on his life and well-being.  Justice Keehan eventually decided to deny their request; arguing that the 16-year-old is perfectly able to make this choice for himself.

His statement, stretching to the fact that he does not want his parents to support him in case of a medical emergency – would further show he is completely aware of the seriousness of his decision.

Although noting that this ruling is understandably disappointing for the adoptive parents in this case, and in acknowledgement of their openness towards the Travistock Clinic; Justice Keehan made the point that the ruling would be in the best interests of all parties.

For one, it would be necessary to respect the boy’s free will and privacy rights. Justice Keehan has also made the prediction that providing the parents with information about the boy contrary to his will is more likely to reduce, than to increase the chance of the future reconciliation which the parents have made clear that they desperately hope for.