The Australian Psychological Association (APA) is making moves to totally exclude parents where transgender children are concerned. Children under 16 should be allowed to go ahead with irreversible transgender surgery against the wishes of both parents and without mandatory counselling, the Australian Psychological Association says. In an unpublished law reform submission, the peak body representing 24,000 psychologists says opposition of both parents should not stand in the way of a child under 16 consenting to surgery, such as a double mastectomy, as long as the doctors are “competent” in assessing the child’s capacity to make decisions.
Currently court approval and counselling is required prior to surgery. But the APA say this creates an “an unnecessary burden” as the child would have had enough medical care by that point. The APA say parents can be a “a significant barrier” to children seeking to transition. The APA would prefer hospitals and the courts have authority over children. Not all experts agree. A paediatrician with more than two decades’ experience said the brain’s frontal lobe, crucial to complex decision-making, does not reach maturity until the age of 25. “Young people are making life-changing decisions about their bodies before their brains and cognitive function have fully matured,” he said.
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