The parents of a non-binary 17-year-old have failed in their bid to prevent the teenager from having breast removal surgery after they were accused of believing that LGBTQ+ people were “evil and satanic”.
The parents had asked the High Court in London for an injunction banning their child from having a mastectomy.
They also sought to have the teenager made subject of a psychiatric report, claiming their child’s sexual preferences were symptoms of a mental illness.
But a High Court judge has refused to grant the injunction saying that while their child was only 17, they would turn 18 within days of the hearing and would therefore be able to give consent to gender-affirming treatment as an adult.
The Hon Mr Justice Macdonald ruled it would be wholly disproportionate to permit an expert to examine the teenager.
Child claims parents believed LGBTQ+ individuals ‘evil and satanic’
The court heard that the 17-year-old first began to identify as lesbian and non-binary at just eleven but had not wanted to tell the parents, who the child claimed believed LGBTQ+ individuals were evil and satanic. The parents denied this.
The teenager, who uses the pronouns they and them, told the court: “I was being emotionally abused by my parents constantly because they would almost make comments to me about how identifying as transgender means I am mentally ill and they would constantly make homophobic/transphobic comments towards me and say things such as the reason LGBTQ+ is normal in the UK is because they are trying to reduce the population.”
The 17-year-old, identified in court documents only as EE, ran away from home in November 2022 to live in care after a series of incidents with her mother and father.
The parents, who moved to the UK with their child about 14 years ago, produced a report, just one sentence long, from a psychiatrist in their native country who purported to diagnose a schizotypal personality disorder in the teenager.
They also claimed the teenager suffered from catatonic states, a psychotic episode, and was bipolar.
Social workers, however, described the teenager as a bright, strong minded young individual, doing well academically, with good strong friendship groups and an important place in the community and keen to continue in the sixth form.
Teenager believed real life only start after bilateral mastectomy
The court heard that the teenager believed that her real life would only start after undergoing a bilateral mastectomy, but that there was a waiting list of ten or more years for NHS Treatment. EE said private surgery costing up to £10,000 was prohibitively expensive, as were private clinics for testosterone.
EE’s lawyers said the parents’ applications to instruct experts to examine the teenager was an “oppressive” attempt to find an expert who would confirm their “fixed belief” that their daughter was mentally ill because she wished to identify as non-binary.
In a written ruling Mr Justice Macdonald said that the parents had made homophobic comments and believed the teenager’s body piercings and use of a breast binder were a form of self-harm.
They also believed their daughter lacked the capacity to take decisions about gender affirming medical treatment and that there was a family history of mental health problems.
Mr Justice Macdonald said there was no evidence that EE was mentally ill. He said that EE had spoken of being compelled to take part in therapy in August and September 2022 and that this bore “some of the hallmarks of so-called ‘conversion therapy’”, which is set to be outlawed by the government.
The judge made EE a party to the court action, and required that the teenager should be told of the proceedings.