Top psychologists in Australia are recommending that children under the age of 16 should be allowed to undergo transgender surgery without parents’ permission.
The recommendation comes from the Austrian Psychological Society (APS), which represents 24,000 professionals.
According to the APS, the disapproval of parents is not sufficient reason to deny children under 16 from consenting to the medical procedure. The psychological group does recommend, however, that a “competent” doctor assess the child’s decision beforehand.
The APS argues that mandatory pre-surgery counseling is often ‘an unnecessary burden’ on the child and that parents who disapprove of the medical procedure pose a “significant barrier” for the child’s future development.
To overcome these obstacles, the body suggests that hospitals should have the right to petition courts to change the minds of parents. Legal advice should also be provided to adolescents so they can authorize the treatment on their own.
A pediatrician, with more than two decades experience working with the brain’s frontal lobe, objected to allowing children to decide whether to receive transgender surgery.
The unidentified doctor, who fears harassment by transgender activists if his name was revealed, told The Australian, “(Young) people are making life-changing decisions about their bodies before their brains and cognitive function have fully matured.”
Children seeking transgender surgery at Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria say the medical procedure has exploded over recent years.
“What’s really interesting is that it’s not just the Royal Children’s Hospital,” said Gender Service director Michelle Telfer.
Between 2003 and 2007, just three patients were referred to Telfer’s gender service. But by the end of 2018, more than 1,000 were referred.