ARPA Approved to Intervene in B.C. Transgender Child Court Case
Earlier this year, a British Columbia judge decided that a 14-year-old girl could receive “hormone treatments” for gender dysphoria despite her father’s strong disapproval. That judge also warned the father against “attempting to persuade A.B. [anonymized initials for his daughter] to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria; addressing A.B. by his birth name; referring to A.B. as a girl or with female pronouns whether to him directly or to third parties.”
A subsequent court order authorized police to arrest the father without warrant and charge him with contempt of court if he does any of the above. The court also censored the father’s lawyers, preventing them from speaking publicly about the case. The names of doctors, psychologists, and others involved in getting this girl started on hormone injections have been redacted and may not be made public.
These rulings are being appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal. ARPA has been permitted to intervene in the case, meaning we may make arguments in court on key constitutional issues. This case raises fundamental issues about family integrity, children’s and parents’ rights, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression, which the appellant (the father) will not have time to adequately address. The father’s lawyer already has his hands full and has limited time to explain to the Court of Appeal the convoluted details of how the daughter came to be prescribed hormone treatments and how the lower court wrongly deferred to the opinions of her doctors while disregarding opposing medical opinions.
The lower court adopts and enforces a particular worldview or philosophy (one might say ideology) about sex and gender. Simply by calling A.B. a “boy” and using masculine pronouns, the court is adopting a particular set of beliefs. Of course, the law of B.C. and Canada has changed such that people now have the legal right to call themselves male or female, regardless of their biology. This case, however, shows a court’s readiness to expand the coercive reach of this ideology. Here, a father is ordered to act and speak as though his daughter is a boy and to say nothing but supportive things about her treatment decision, which will change her body and potentially destroy her fertility forever.
The law of B.C. does explicitly demand that service providers and employers relate to people in a service or employment context according to their chosen gender identity (subject to some exceptions). However, there is no such explicit requirement for a father to refrain from expressing his views to his child if those views do not align with currently in-vogue ideology. The court below takes existing legal provisions designed to protect children from “family violence” (meaning physical, sexual, or emotional abuse – the latter including “intimidation” and “harassment”) and uses them to censor views about gender different from its own.
ARPA believes that the court went beyond its legal authority in censoring the father in this way. We intend to argue that the Family Law Act cannot be reasonably interpreted as authorizing the court’s orders. Moreover, we intend to argue that the statute must be interpreted in a manner that respects Charter freedom of thought, belief, and expression, meaning it should not be interpreted in a manner that authorizes a court to censor particular points of view on scientific, philosophical, or moral issues – gender identity involves all three.
Call for Prayer: We believe that our intervention in this case is badly needed. Please pray that the truth will be heard and that the court will be receptive to it. Please also pray for this family in particular, and the many youth who are being confused and hurt by the harmful teachings about gender and sexuality. The hearing is scheduled for September 4-6, 2019.
Factum: Our Factum has been submitted for this case and is available in full. You can read it below, or click here.