• The judge says the issue is a "matter of conscience". (OJO Images RF / Getty Images)Source: OJO Images RF / Getty Images
Transgender teens have to face court in order to access the medical treatment they need to transition.
By
Michaela Morgan

25 Jan 2017 - 12:30 PM  UPDATED 25 Jan 2017 - 12:30 PM

Family Court Judge Peter Tree has criticised the legal process that transgender teens must go through in order to access the medical treatment required to transition.

Last month, Tree allowed 17-year-old Lucas to begin hormone replacement therapy, but has slammed the bureaucracy that adolescents face to get permission from the court.  

 “As if the general turmoil and challenges which being a teenager in our modern world generates are not enough, the additional burden of requiring an already vulnerable and highly marginalised group to individually litigate to vindicate their identity seems inhumane,” Tree wrote.

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“No other group of adolescents is required to do so. Having already traversed a far more difficult path than many of their peers, it can only serve to further increase their burden.”

The process was instituted in 2004 and requires transgender teens to apply to the court if they wish to begin hormone treatment. Since then, no teenager has been denied treatment, with advocates labelling the process as a costly waste of time that causes unnecessary stress.

“The sooner that children such as Lucas and their families do not have to endure the ordeal of litigation in order to get on with their lives, the better,” says Tree.

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The judge believes the process is of "no benefit to the child” and “anything but in their best interests”.

Labor Shadow Minister for Equality Terri Butler has told the Star Observer that people she has spoken to in the trans community have nominated this as a key issue.

“The Turnbull government should make clear what they intend to do about this situation,” says Butler.