A 7-year-old boy has been removed from his mother's care after it came to light she was forcing him to live as a girl.
Mr. Justice Hayden said the woman, who cannot be identified, caused her son "significant emotional harm" after she became "absolutely convinced" that he "perceived himself as a girl" and then forced him to live as one.
The judgment was handed down last Thursday at the Family Division of the High Court, after a three-year legal battle brought by the boy's father.
'Significant Emotional Harm'
The parents had separated some years prior and the boy was living with his mother. An inquiry was ordered when the courts found out that the father was being denied contact.
In the written ruling, Mr. Justice Hayden said the boy "dressed, at all times, like a girl and, it transpired, had been registered at a new general practitioner's as a girl."
He added: "I was also left in no doubt that [the mother] was absolutely convinced that [the boy] perceived himself as a girl.
"I consider that [the mother] has caused significant emotional harm to [her son] in her active determination that he should be a girl."
'Striking How Well the Boy Has Settled Down'
Mr. Justice Hayden said that the boy, since being placed into his father's care, has shown no indication of wanting to live as a girl.
"I have been told that (the father) and his partner were shocked when they first saw (the boy) by the extent to which he appeared to be a girl, both in appearance and in mannerism," the judge said.
"However, what is striking is how well (the boy) has settled down.
"I have noted from reports that [the boy] has become interested in Power Rangers, SpongeBob, Superheroes and is constantly finding new interests," he said.
"I am entirely satisfied, both on the basis of the reports and [the father's] evidence at this hearing, that he has brought no pressure on [the boy] to pursue masculine interests. [The boy's] interests and energy are entirely self-motivated."
Concern About Social Services
The judge also expressed concern about the failure on the part of social services to take action.
Mr. Justice Hayden said that over the past few years, "flares of concern" had been sent from a "whole raft of multi-disciplinary agencies"—yet these concerns had been "disregarded." He said he wanted the council to undertake a review of the "social work response" to the case.
Family Faces Pressure to Let Their Daughter Live as a Boy
In contrast to this case, the Christian Legal Centre is supporting a family that fears their daughter will be taken into foster care, unless they refer to her and treat her as a boy.
The Christian parents sought professional help after their 14-year-old daughter "Bethany" said she wanted to live as a boy, and wished to be called "Gary." She also began to self-harm.
When Bethany tried to run away, social services and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) got involved.
Bethany's behavior improved over the summer holidays when social workers' involvement reduced, and she stopped self-harming. However, when she returned to school in September, the situation worsened again, as social services once again intervened.
The family will meet with social workers in November, where it is believed that social services will pressure the parents into allowing Bethany to be called "Gary" at school, and to receive "therapy" from a gender identity clinic in Leeds.
The parents fear that unless they bow to pressure, their daughter may be taken into care.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, commented: "This case demonstrates a shocking disregard for parental authority; no one is listening to what the parents want or have to say; they know the child best; they have the child's best interests at heart."
Please pray for this family and for the Christian Legal Centre team as they take this case forward.
Engaging With Transgenderism
It is becoming increasingly necessary for the church to engage with the issue of transgenderism, as more cases like this emerge.
Rev. Vaughan Roberts, the rector of St Ebbe's Church in Oxford, has written a timely new book, Transgender, which explains the roots of the ideology and offers practical guidance to Christians seeking to love the individual and speak truth.
Christian Concern's Communications Officer, Camilla Olim, has reviewed Roberts' book, describing it as "short, accessible and yet theologically robust and emotionally sensitive."
Camilla has also previously commented on two cases in which parents had encouraged their young children to identify as the opposite gender.
In this piece she writes: "As believers, we have the answer to this confusion and pain. We know that Christ redeems all things and heals all broken places; we know that our true identity is found in Him—but what are we doing about it? Do we even discuss transgenderism in our churches?
"It is vital that we understand the times we are living in and engage with these issues. Transgenderism is an issue that is not simply going away, and it is becoming mainstream."
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