“I find that his father’s expressions of rejection of AB’s gender identity constitutes family violence.”
A transgender teenager last week convinced a Canadian judge to make his dad stop “misgendering” him.
In the April 15 protection order, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Francesca Marzari’s said the father was “harming his child” by refusing to accept his male gender identity. She barred him from continuing to “misgender” or “deadname” the biological girl in public or private.
In court documents, the father was identified only as CD, and the 14-year-old child was called AB.
“I find that his father’s expressions of rejection of AB’s gender identity, both publicly and privately, constitutes family violence against AB,” Marzari said. “Finally, I find that CD’s conduct in this regard is persistent and unlikely to cease in the absence of a clear order to restrain it.”
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Marazari also ordered the father to stop challenging his child’s decision to transition, including by “exposing AB to videos and other materials that question whether his gender identity is real or the treatments he seeks are in his best interests.”
In February, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the father could not prevent his biological daughter from receiving testosterone injections to transition to male. The father appealed the decision last month, and began granting interviews and commenting on social media in an effort to advance his cause, according to The Federalist.
“She is a girl. Her DNA will not change through all these experiments that they do,” he told the right-wing website in one interview.
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The transgender boy had requested that the judge issue the protection order to silence his father, who countered that the move would violate his rights to free speech and thought.
While Marazari acknowledged in her order that she was curbing the father’s expression, she said that was a fair price to pay to protect his child. the judge denied that the order infringed on the father’s freedom of thought.
“There is no requirement that CD change his views about what is best for AB,” she said. “It is only how he expresses those views privately to AB and publicly to third parties that is affected.”
The father’s appeal is slated to be heard by B.C. Court of Appeals on May 14. At stake is a precedent set by last month’s ruling that children have a right to transition and parents must respect their chosen gender, pronouns, and name.
“Young trans people can take comfort that the way that they are often ‘misgendered’ and ‘deadnamed’ is a human rights violation and could rise to the level of being family violence,” transgender rights lawyer Adrienne Smith told the Star last month.
Canada has been a world leader in advancing transgender rights. In 2017, the federal government passed Bill C-16 into law, protecting gender expression and gender identity. Psychology professor Jordan Peterson famously opposed the legislation, arguing that it is a threat to free speech.
A similar conflict has played out in the United States and elsewhere. Twitter in November banned “deadnaming” and “misgendering” of transgender people, and newly empowered Democrats in Congress have promised to advance legislation on behalf of transgender people.
A number of experts have warned — including in an Atlantic cover story last June — that many parents, educators, and doctors have become too accommodating. While there is not yet longterm research on transition outcomes, the concern is that children may regret the often-irreversible process when they get older.
LGBT activists, for their part, have largely rejected such pushback, claiming that mistaken transitions are exceedingly rare. In many cases, they have sought to paint skeptics with the broad brush of transphobia.
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