Australian children living with gender dysphoria: does the Family Court have a role to play? Academic Article uri icon


  • A growing number of Australian children are seeking medical treatment for gender, dysphoria. Until recently, such treatment was available only to children whose parents received the authorisation of the Family Court. However, the 2013 Full Court of the Family Court decision of Re Jamie changed the legal landscape for children living with gender dysphoria by allowing parents to consent to stage one treatment (the administration of puberty "blockers"). The court did not, however, come to the same conclusion with regard to stage two treatment (the administration of testosterone or oestrogen). Stage two treatment was held to be a "special medical procedure" and thus subject to court authorisation, unless the child is Gillick competent. While Re Jamie improved the process of seeking treatment for gender dysphoria, this article argues that the Full Court failed to correctly apply the test for "special medical procedures" articulated in Marion's Case. Crucially, the court failed to grapple adequately with the distinction made in Marion's Case between therapeutic and nontherapeutic treatment.

publication date

  • September 1, 2014