A Canadian judge has ordered an Alberta woman to stop allowing her four-year-old son to wear girls’ clothes, in a case that raises questions about the rights of transgender kids caught up in custody disputes, CBC News is reporting.
The boy’s mother has asked not to be identified and is being called “Susan Smith” in the media to preserve her and her son’s privacy.
The Medicine Hat, Alberta, woman says that her son, who was born biologically male, began showing signs that he identified as a girl at a very young age. As a preschooler, she says, the boy — whose name is not being released to the media to protect his privacy — began telling his mother that he is a girl.
“And when they’re really that young it’s really cute… and I just left it like that.”
As the boy grew older, she says, he would act out whenever his mother called him a boy — for example, by praising him and calling him “such a good boy.” Then, at 5-years-old, he asked his mother when her penis fell off.
“I explained to them the female and male anatomy and that what you get when you’re born is what remains your entire life.”
A few days later, the boy woke Susan up in the middle of the night to tell her that he was going to cut off his penis. It was then that Ms. Smith decided to seek professional help — and she decided to allow her son to live according to his own gender identity, even if that mean he would wear girls’ clothes.
“Our eyes locked and it was maybe the millionth time they told me they were a girl… and I promised I was going to do whatever I could to validate and support them and to be that one person they could go to.”
The boy’s non-custodial father, whose name has also not been released, did not agree with that decision. Not long after Susan told him about her decision to allow the boy to live as a girl, he filed for custody.
In December, 2015, Judge Derek Redman declined to award custody of the boy to his father, but told Susan that the boy could not be allowed to wear girls’ clothes in public, but could do so in private. She appealed, and a second judge awarded custody of the boy to his dad, limiting Susan’s contact with him. Then a third judge intervened, giving custody of the boy back to his mother, but requiring her to keep both boys’ and girls’ clothes available for him to wear as he chooses.
In a remarkably similar case out of England, as reported by the Inquisitr, a judge removed from custody a boy whose mother was allowing him to live as a girl. In the English case, the judge indicated that the matter was less one of the boy’s gender identity and more a matter of the mother’s misplaced belief that her son identified as a girl. Once in his father’s custody, the boy began dressing as a boy and pursuing typical male hobbies, like superheroes.
Back in Canada, Angela Reid, with the Trans Equality Society of Alberta, says that for a judge to dictate what clothes a child can and can’t wear is a violation of the country’s Bill of Rights.
“If it’s actually a boy who thinks he’s a boy but he wants to wear dresses anyway, that is totally OK, and that should not be prevented by the court.”
Do you believe the Canadian judge was right to forbid a mother from allowing her son to dress as a girl?
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