Gender patients won't need court order

Andrew Drummond

Adolescent Australians seeking hormone treatment to change gender will no longer need a Family Court order.

After considering the case of 16-year-old "Kelvin", the court on Thursday found in favour of easing the legal requirements for stage two treatment.

Born a girl, Kelvin was confirmed as having gender dysphoria by age nine, and his parents made an application to the court in early 2017 asking that he be deemed competent to authorise his own treatment.

"Stage two treatment for Kelvin's gender dysphoria involves the administration of testosterone to initiate the secondary sexual characteristics and appearance of the male sex," Thursday's decision noted.

Stage two treatment "may, but does not necessarily, cause long-term infertility" and stops short of surgical intervention.

"For Kelvin, if stage two treatment was not carried out his overall health and wellbeing is almost certain to deteriorate especially as his mental and physical health is heavily dependent on the perception of himself as male."

Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, which was a party in favour of the changes in the Family Court matter, welcomed the decision.

Australia is the only country in the world that requires court involvement in stage two decision-making, Dr Michelle Telfer said.

"For the first time in Australian history, transgender adolescents will have the same rights to healthcare as their peers," she added.