PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that an 11-year-old child diagnosed with gender dysphoria should have a legal representative in a parental dispute over medical treatment.
The child, identified only as J.K. in court documents, was born female and started transitioning to become male earlier this year with a treatment that includes taking a puberty-blocking drug.
J.K. and his mother, A.H. asked the court to appoint a litigation guardian to represent the child after his father launched legal action to try to stop the drug treatment.
Court documents say the child displayed masculine tendencies from an early age and that when A.H. took him to buy sports bras last year, he became distraught, prompting his mother to take him to a several doctors.
The documents say A.H. has been supportive of the transition but the child's father, N.K., argues the treatment was undertaken without his consent and that the child has not been adequately assessed by experts.
N.K. believes that his child is being directed by a group of transgender activists and that he has concerns about what he believes is a dangerous drug.
Justice Ronald Skolrood said in a written decision released Wednesday that J.K. should be represented by a litigation guardian who can help him formulate views to present in court over his treatment.
"This case is really about J.K. and his role in determining his own future," Skolrood wrote. "In my view, these issues cannot be properly considered without J.K.'s direct participation, nor would it be fair to J.K. for the court to attempt to do so."
The guardian can also provide the child with "something of a buffer from the acrimony existing between his parents," the judge said.
The parents, who have married and divorced twice, will need to agree on who is appointed as the litigation guardian and if they cannot agree, A.H. will have the final say, he ruled.
Skolrood denied a request from A.H. to give her sole authority to make decisions about J.K.'s medical, social, gender, education and legal matters.
He also ruled that the child should continue the treatment pending additional court action by his parents.