Today as CEO of Mermaids I spent my morning supporting a Mother whose child was removed earlier this year, when the judge overseeing a contact case decided that the child was being emotionally abused as the Mum was forcing the child to live as female. Mermaids has known and supported this family for a number of years. This case is hugely upsetting as well as completely prejudicial. It is difficult to imagine the suffering this removal has caused both the Mum and the child, with no actual basis in truth.
The Judge has now issued the judgement which not only brands the Mum as abusive, but will also have a huge impact on all families supporting a younger child to live as the gender they identify as. During the 3 years that Mermaids have supported this family there has been no evidence AT ALL to support this judges views.
Mum has listened to her child and supported her unconditionally. There have been 2 independent gender specialists who have reviewed the family and agreed that Mum is not responsible for her child's gender expression.
This judgement is a disaster. In current times with laws protecting gender non-conforming children and young people, this judgement is deeply and profoundly shocking.
Mermaids will continue to support the Mum and try to help to reverse this decision through appeal and any other avenue available. This cannot be allowed to stand.
When people ask me how can a child this young decide, it makes me so angry. No child decides this. Most children are happy with their birth gender. But sometimes they are not. Sometimes this feeling will change in time. Sometimes it won't. But listening and supporting your child so they know whatever the outcome they are loved for who they are is vital.
If you are known to the press you may be asked for an opinion. If you are affected by this issue and need some support let us know. It is a very sad day.
Below are some of the comments and posts I have received from parents who could potentially find themselves in a similar situation. Mermaids has supported thousands of people over the years. From a parent dealing with their child’s gender variance, to the teen whose parents refuse to acknowledge their identity. This is not a choice.
Today I feel afraid. As a parent of a young transgender child, this fear is not new. It rises and falls, but never goes away. How can I protect my sweet child from so much ignorance, prejudice and hate. I've never felt so isolated and alone. Through many challenges, rejections, abuse - being called a terrible parent, my young daughter being called it, he-she, told she doesn't even have a right to exist - the one life jacket I have clung to, that has stopped us from sinking as a family, is our clear legal protection under the Equalities act. Now, through the prejudice of one high court judge, this legal protection is being threatened. Yet those of us who are devastated, terrified, distraught, are too powerless and vulnerable to speak out openly against this hate. We are weak and feeling alone. We need allies. We need friends. We need you. This is a defining civil rights battle for the 21st century. If you do care, don't stand silent and allow an already vulnerable and persecuted group of children to lose their right to exist. Our children and families face hostility, criticism, abuse, isolation every day. No loving parent would choose this for their child. I love my daughter to the moon and back. And I will not allow hard won rights and protections to be taken away by ignorance and hate. We need your help. Please share this post. Please sign the petition. Please be visible. We can't do this on our own
I am a community leader within the Transgender community, vice-chair of Sparkle - National Transgender Charity, Secretary of TMSA-UK (the largest trans Masculine peer support group in the country and Vice-Chair of the newly established Tempyouth service which is a transgender employment mentoring support service for people who are NEET aged 16-25.
The judges decision is not made on the basis of good fact, it is deplorable that the mother here has been punished and in turn the child punished for being who they are, as a transgender person; it is a disgrace that anyone would prevent a child from being happy and themselves regardless of their gender presentation. THIS IS NOT ABUSE, it is a selfless act of love for their child.
This must not be allowed to continue.
Shocked and terrified by this ruling. The damage being done to this child and her mother is appalling. Our acceptance of our own child’s gender dysphoria has allowed her suicidal ideation and depression to weaken and we have seen her become happier. I cannot bear to imagine what would have happened if she had been ignored, taken from us and forced back into living as a boy. The judge in this case must have ignored all expert advice which would have made it clear that we must listen to the voice of the child in these situations.
I have just found out about the case and the judgment. I am a mother to a wonderful little girl who is only 2 years older than this child. My child hasn't been forced or encouraged in anyway shape or form to identify as female. The fact is I couldn't of made my daughter do this even if I had wanted this all by for myself. We as parents struggle daily to ensure we are supporting our children through this, the best way possible. Don't we all have a right too explore our own individuality and the free will to decide how we want to live, even children have the right to happiness and security and to not be abused by the people who are there to protect them. This child was being loved and supported by her mother and instead of helping mum to continue to do this they have placed this child with a person who isn't going to support this child the way the child needs.
Is the child being allowed to play with anything other than the toys her father wants her to play with??? Is the child allowed to dress as she feels??? Is this child being protected from other people's ideology?? I already know the answers because it's obvious who is forcing this child. This is unjust and upsetting and my heart breaks for the child and for the mother.
How can the child be made to live as male if, as the judge expresses, they are too young to know their gender. This decision shows no logical grounds and gives concern to the thousands of families living with young transgender children, that they will be spilt apart because of their child's identity, which is purely transphobic and highly prejudice.
When studies show that 48% of transgender youth in the uk have admitted to attempting suicide, I simply could not believe what I read in today's newspaper. It is totally wrong to remove a trans child from an environment where this child can fully be themselves. To place them in an environment where they are forced to live as their birth gender is simply abuse! As a parent of a trans child myself I am completely horrified and disgusted that this is allowed to happen "legally" in 2016. Shame on you.
I hope that this gets challenged, this is a total breach of human rights.
When I read this ruling, I was sickened. As the mother of a 6 year old, I cannot even imagine this mother's agony, nor that of the child who was ripped away from her. All she did was listen to her child and respect her baby. That is not child abuse. It is ignorant to think parents FORCE children to dress, live and act as the opposite gender. This judge needs to be taken away with his outdated assumptions of gender, and his insane assessment of what true emotional turmoil is for gender non-conforming children. Please reunite this mother with her child. This is sickening to rip a family apart.
To Mr. Justice Hayden,
I have just heard of your verdict and comments on the case of the 7-yr old who identifies as a girl, and I am writing to express my utter incomprehension and dismay at the judgment.
It seems to me that the girl's mother was doing exactly what most caring parents of gender-questioning children do, myself included. Quite simply, we listen to our child. We might not immediately like what we hear first time when our child 'comes out' to us, we might even be distraught by the news or shocked, but we put that to one side, we ignore our initial feelings because we love our child and we can witness their happiness and delight at assuming their true gender. So how is it possible to say that the mother was somehow imposing this on her child? Can we all in fact be doing this, we parents of transgender children, imposing this choice on our children? That makes no sense, because no-one would freely choose this difficult road for their child. And it is a difficult one, fraught with fear and anxiety for the future for both parents and child. Who would make that choice for their child? We tread this narrow and precarious path because we have to, for our children's sake, and we do it over many years, with often a great deal of anguish, pain and sadness.
To take this child away from its clearly most caring mother is not only short-sighted and cruel, but quite irrational in view of modern medical thinking. I urge you to reconsider your verdict.
Is this judge living in the dark ages? How in this day and age can someone be so uninformed and cold hearted. This judgement is criminal itself. Please help this family and ultimately this poor child.