Mermaids issued the following statement:
Oct 23, 2016 — As we have reported before the Mum and child were independently assessed by an experienced gender specialist who works extensively with children and young people experiencing issues around their gender identity. She found that the child was very clear about her gender and was in no way coerced of forced into these behaviors by her Mum.
This is her response to the judgement.
"There is so much misrepresentation in this case and in the judgement itself.
The judgement appears to ignore or fail to display any any appreciation of Gender Dysphoria or what it actually constitutes. The child’s experience and needs have been sidelined in a quest for what is assumed to be acceptable or normal behaviour. Likewise, the mother’s narrative and experience appears to have been dismissed as misplaced at best and as negligent and abusive at worst. If she needed help as a parent, and I stress I am not stating that she did, where was that help?
There is no evidence that the mother coerced the child into a female presentation. Furthermore, all historical evidence would support the view that this is not a sustainable stance. Even if it were assumed to have been the case, where was the evidence? The assumption that the child’s feminine presentation and behaviour would only occur if encouraged displays further ignorance of the issues. To compound these assumptions, the judgement has gone in favour of an absent parent who has not brought up the child.
The judges comments concerning toys and behaviour illustrate a naivety at best and appalling ignorance at worst. In 2016, it is simply unacceptable to be in a position whereby lives can be impacted without having an acceptable grasp of the subject, or at least listening to people who do.
Let’s be clear about what the mother actually did or perhaps more poignantly did not do. Allowing this young person to express themselves by wearing clothes they feel more comfortable with and growing their hair in a feminine style does not, as I saw reported in one section of the media, constitute the child 'changing sex’ nor would it, had they used correct terminology i.e. changed gender, been any more accurate. The heinous crime this mother has been accused of is that of allowing her child to express themselves in a manner they feel comfortable with. The child has not undertaken an irreversible change of gender leave alone changed their physical characteristics. The mother has responded to the extreme distress of her child and mitigated that distress. Has this judgement taken into account this extreme distress and how it played out? More importantly, what will happen to this child in the future? What we do know is that merely suppressing an individual’s preferred gender presentation can lead to extreme distress which often leads to self-harming and in some cases suicidal thoughts. Has that been considered?
In societies quest to make all our children conform to whatever is deemed to be normal, we are in grave danger of ignoring the distress and the needs of individual young people. Before I am accused of wanting, hormones on demand or medical treatment at any age, let me say nothing could be further from the truth. I am respectfully pointing out that we need to understand that some young people may need help to explore their gender identity and to understand themselves. This help can best be provided within a loving, caring environment and with the help off professionals who understand the issues. This child does not appear to have been provided this opportunity. We can only hope and pray they are allowed and able to find some peace."
Michelle Bridgman MSc
Psychotherapist & Gender Identity Consultant
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