An Australian court has approved a controversial parental request to allow a 5-year-old child, born male but described as intersex in media reports, to undergo gender reassignment surgery and identify as female.
BBC News reported that the child is known only as Carla, and identifies as a girl despite lacking female sex organs.
The Family Court was reportedly told that Carla was born with “female-appearing genitalia” and exhibited “stereotypically female” behavior, such as never wanting to be referred to as a male, and preferring “female toys, clothes and activities.”
A surgery will now be performed to remove the gonads from inside the child’s body. Medical experts reportedly testified in court that the surgery would remove the risk for the child developing tumours, and suggested that the surgery should take place before puberty.
Family Court Judge Colin Forrest said in his decision, according to the BBC, “I consider the proposed medical treatment ‘therapeutic’ as being necessary to appropriately and proportionately treat a genetic bodily malfunction that, untreated, poses real and not insubstantial risks to the child’s physical and emotional health.”
Even some intersex campaigners have questioned the ruling, however, with one advocate, named Morgan Carpenter, arguing that children need to be older to make important decisions about their identity.
“Gender assignment is always appropriate,” Carpenter told BBC. “What is not appropriate is surgically enforced gender assignment.”
Controversial stories of children being allowed to chose their gender have been reported on several occasions this past year.
In June The Christian Post reported that according to the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph, the NSW Department of Education revealed that the child is the youngest person in the country to be in the process of transitioning genders for eventual gender reassignment.