Have you ever given this topic much thought and how it impacts the individual child and their family? Gender dysphoria is a serious condition in which a child’s subjectively felt identity and gender are not congruent with her or his biological sex, causing clinically significant distress or impairment in social functioning or other important areas of functioning.
Many Nurses may not have worked in this related area and will find the enclosed article published in the Medical Journal of Australia enlightening In part the article identifies:
“The Family Court of Australia has recently received an increasing number of applications seeking authorisation for the provision of hormones to treat gender dysphoria in children.Some medical procedures and interventions performed on children are of such a grave nature that court authorisation must be obtained to render them lawful. These procedures are referred to as special medical procedures.
Hormonal therapy for the treatment of gender dysphoria in children is provided in two stages occurring years apart. Until recently, both stages of treatment were regarded by courts as special medical treatments, meaning court authorisation had to be provided for both stages.
Stage 1 treatment involves the provision of puberty blocking medication, and stage 2 comprises cross-sex hormone treatment
In a significant recent development, courts have drawn a distinction between the two stages of treatment, permitting parents to consent to the first stage. In addition, it has been held that a child who is determined by a court to be Gillick competent can consent to stage 2 treatment. A Gillick-competent child is one who is found to possess sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable her or him to understand fully what is proposed.
The article identifies that new legal developments concerning treatment for gender dysphoria are of ethical, clinical and practical importance to children and their families, and to medical practitioners treating children with gender dysphoria.” It is also of interest to Nurses to have some understanding of what requires consent by a court.