The boy who ‘lived in stealth’: Judge challenges ’emerging orthodoxy’

The following guest post, by 4thWaveNow contributor Artemisia, is Part 1 in a series. In this piece, Artemisia investigates a recently reported case of a 7-year-old child in the UK who was removed from the custody of his mother. The court found that the child had been essentially groomed into a transgender identity by his mother. UK charity Mermaids was banned from contact with the mother and child. Part 2 in this series will take a deeper look at Mermaids and the overall state of affairs regarding “transgender children” in the United Kingdom.


 by Artemisia

 On 21 October the Family Division of the High Court published a judgement delivered earlier that month by Mr. Justice Hayden. The case was widely reported in the press under headlines such as ‘Boy “living life entirely as a girl” removed from mother’s care by judge’ (Guardian). guardian-headline

At once the organisation Mermaids began to kick up a fuss on Twitter. Mermaids is a UK charity. Its objects are ‘to relieve the mental and emotional stress of all persons aged 19 years and under who are in any manner affected by gender identity issues, and their families, and to advance public education in the same’. Mermaids asserted that it had been involved with the family for three years, supporting the mother and child. The claim that Mermaids has had a close involvement with the case is corroborated by a passage in the judgement, extracted from a report prepared for the local authority, which states that the child’s mother was receiving ‘support from the charity Mermaids’.

Mermaids strongly disagrees with the decision to remove the child from his mother. In a series of remarkable public statements on Twitter and elsewhere, the charity and its supporters have stigmatized the judge’s decision to transfer the boy to the care of his father as ‘a huge injustice and transphobic practice’, claimed (wrongly) that ‘there is no evidence … to support [his] views’, described the judge as ‘uninformed and cold hearted’, accused him of ‘abuse’ towards the mother and child and demanded that the judgement be ‘overruled by a higher authority’.

mermaids-tweet

 This seems like very indiscreet behaviour for a charity, particularly a charity which has not denied that it was made the subject of a court order, banning it from contact with either mother or child; but discretion, it appears, is not the Mermaids way.

mermaids-tweet-2

The case arrived in the High Court as a child protection case. However, it began as private legal proceedings brought in the county court by the child’s father.

The child at the centre of the case, called in the judgement ‘J’, is seven years old. His parents separated while he was still a baby. The father (‘F’ in the judgement) continued to have contact with the child until he was about three or four, when there was a breakdown in the access arrangements agreed between the parents. In 2013 the father applied to the county court for a child arrangement order. He was not seeking to remove his son from the care of his mother; he just wanted to be back in contact with him.

‘M’, the mother, opposed F’s application. Among other reasons she claimed that her son was ‘gender variant’ and that F was resistant to allowing him ‘to present as a girl’. The case was heard by Her Honour Judge Penna, a specialist in family proceedings.

In April 2014 Judge Penna considered a report from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). It recorded that F had stated that he would not have an issue with J’s being ‘gender variant’, though he did request proof that this was actually the case. CAFCASS suggested that ‘this could be provided by the support group’: presumably this was a reference to Mermaids. Regardless, CAFCASS recommended that the court proceedings should be concluded and that there should be no resumption of contact between J and his father. The stated reason for this was that ‘the animosity between the parents was likely to lead to “potential emotional harm not only to [J] but to [M] too” ’.

Mother Must Never Be Upset. This is a precept that more than one of the agencies involved in this case seem to have taken as a guiding rule.

Judge Penna did not accept the conclusions presented by CAFCASS, stating: ‘I am unable to agree that this recommendation addresses J’s welfare needs which include a need to have a rounded sense of his identity as he grows older.’

Early in 2015 Judge Penna directed the local authority to conduct a section 37 investigation. This is an investigation to determine whether the local authority should apply to the court for a care order. Evidently the reports that Judge Penna had been receiving had led her to the view that J might be at risk.

The section 37 report, dated 20 March, records that during the course of the previous two years a number of concerns relating to M’s parenting of J had been raised by a range of agencies, including the local authority housing department, two different schools and the health centre. Some of the concerns raised, but not all, were related to M’s insistence that J was ‘gender variant’ or ‘transgender’.

The child’s first school, for example, reported that M was claiming that J was being bullied because of his ‘gender variance’. She was unable to provide any names of the bullies and the staff had not seen any bullying take place. M wanted to send her son to school ‘dressed as a girl’. The school, however, found ‘that in class, [J] [didn’t] display any differences to the other boys’. M did not wish to hear this, and ‘on occasions she reduced a teacher to tears’ by  ‘her “forceful and confrontational” manner’.

There are other reports of M behaving aggressively when she is challenged.

Transgender activist Fox Fisher, a strong supporter of Mermaids, has posted an ‘open letter’ addressing J as a ‘trans girl’. Fisher says,

‘After having spent time with you and your mum on number of occasions I cannot understand how anyone could not see you as the girl that you really are. … When I met you at the age of 5, you were using female pronouns and were living happily as the girl that you are.’

I am sure Fisher is perfectly sincere and has reported the situation as it appeared. But has Fisher ever met J without his mother? Or witnessed J’s mother in one of her well-documented rages?

The section 37 report did make some acknowledgement that M could be a difficult person to have dealings with and that ‘on occasion’ she had ‘challenged professionals’. However, this was blamed on the schools and other agencies, who, it was said, ‘did not have a full understanding of gender non conforming children’. This made M feel ‘stressed’. (Mother Must Never Be Upset.)

In spite of the large number of referrals, the report concluded that ‘the concerns have not been substantiated and did not meet threshold for further intervention’: in other words, the local authority would not be applying for a care order.

At several points the report mentioned that M was receiving support from a charity. In each case this was given as a reason why there was no need for further action to be taken by the children’s services department. In one place the charity is named as Mermaids. In other places the name of the charity has been redacted.

No doubt the children’s services department is under-resourced. Probably the social workers felt off-balance and out of their depth, faced with a putatively transgender five-year-old and his articulate and sometimes very daunting mother. Still, with the best will in the world, the CEO and volunteers of Mermaids do not have the training that a social worker receives, nor could they have the overview of the case gained from multi-agency referrals. On the other side, handing J and his mother off to Mermaids meant that the department was committed to accepting without proper investigation the claim that J ‘feel[s] like a girl and want[s] to be a girl’, to use his mother’s words. Moreover, the department bestowed its authority on the ideology of transgenderism which Mermaids embraces and propagates, and in particular the highly questionable construct of the ‘transgender child’. And it led to the rather convenient assumption that whenever concerns were raised about J’s welfare, this was merely a sign that the agency involved was deficient in its ‘understanding of gender non conforming children’.

By October 2015 the court and the local authority had lost track of J. His home address was not known, he was not attending school, and M was not co-operating with the court-appointed guardian over her efforts to get in touch. In this situation, concerned for the child’s welfare, Judge Penna took the decision to transfer the case to the Family Division of the High Court, which has statutory powers that the county courts do not possess. At this point the case ceased to be a matter of private legal proceedings and became a child protection case, a matter of public law.

The case came before Mr Justice Hayden, the judge against whom Mermaids has directed so much bile.  Anthony Hayden QC was made a High Court judge in 2013. Before then he was a senior barrister, acknowledged as an expert in family and children’s law. He was one of five specialists  who contributed to a massive, ground-breaking legal handbook on Children and Same Sex Families (2012). Judge Penna was another of the contributors. The book includes a detailed section on ‘Gender Recognition’.

children_and_same_sex_families

The ‘transphobic’ & ‘uninformed’ judges were contributors to this book

Mr Justice Hayden wrote in the foreword: ‘A society that respects diversity, values equality and promotes fairness is a healthier one for children to grow up in and a better one for us all.’

The judges who have dealt with J’s case are among the top authorities in the country on family and children’s law as it relates to transgender people. When Mermaids and its supporters call Mr Justice Hayden ‘transphobic’ and ‘uninformed’, they show up their own ignorance and prejudice.

At the first hearing before Mr Justice Hayden, in November last year, he made what he describes as ‘a variety of highly prescriptive orders, reinforced by a Penal Notice’ (that is, a warning that any breach of the order will be a contempt of court). He discreetly declines to say what was in these orders or to whom they were directed. However, Fox Fisher, a Mermaids volunteer with inside knowledge of the case who does not, it seems, appreciate that there are some things it is better to keep quiet about, has acknowledged being subject to a gagging order. Fisher has also stated that there has been ‘a ban on Mermaids being involved with either [J or M] for many months’. Presumably, after studying the reports, Mr Justice Hayden concluded that the continued involvement of Mermaids would not be helpful.

During that hearing M told the judge that her son was living ‘in stealth’, that is, entirely as a girl. She claimed that in bringing him up as a girl she was following advice that she had received from the Tavistock Centre (which runs a gender identity clinic for children). When the court asked to see the records that the Tavistock held on her child, she tried to bar their production; when, eventually, these were obtained, they did not bear out her claim.

The next hearing was in February this year. Mr Justice Hayden makes some telling observations about M’s behaviour in court:

What struck me forcibly … was that M spoke of J only in the somewhat opaque and convoluted argot of social work and psychology. She offered an impressive, intense and highly articulate evaluation of the problems faced by children with gender dysphoria but she conveyed no sense of J’s personality, temperament or enthusiasms, notwithstanding frequently being encouraged to do so. Repeatedly she struck me as a professional witness giving evidence about somebody else’s child.

This is reminiscent of some of the signs of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (also known as factitious disorder by proxy). An attention-seeking mother gratifies her needs by faking in her child an unusual condition or disease. Typically she is well-informed about medical care and is able to discuss the child’s symptoms in considerable detail.

I am critical of the modern tendency to class every problematic behaviour pattern as a mental disorder. But the fact that this kind of pattern in a mother-child relationship is recognised and documented is a useful notice that it is by no means unheard-of for mothers to treat their children as screens on which they project whatever gratifies their needs. And I think we need to be reminded of this sometimes. The meme of the ever-loving mother is very powerful and there are strong cultural taboos on saying anything that may tend to undermine it.

After the hearing in February, the judge concluded that J ‘was at risk of significant emotional harm’. He agreed with J’s court-appointed guardian that he should be removed from M’s care. A very experienced clinical psychologist had made assessments of M and F. On the basis of her reports and his own assessment of F as a witness, the judge made an order transferring J to the care of his father.

Mr Justice Hayden has set his views out plainly:

My experience in the Family Division leaves me with little doubt that some children, as young as 4, 5, 6 years of age may identify strongly with their opposite gender. Such children can experience rejection and abuse arising from ignorance both on a personal and institutional level. … It is important that such children are listened to and their views afforded respect but, to my mind, they are ill served by premature labelling. What they require … is the opportunity to develop their identity in which ever way it evolves. J was not only deprived of that space and opportunity by his mother, he was pressed into a gender identification that had far more to do with his mother’s needs and little, if anything, to do with his own.

J’s father has undertaken to give him that space; his mother remains convinced that he is ‘a girl whose true gender identity is being repressed by F and the professionals’.

What Mr Justice Hayden says in the passage I have quoted above is simply the epitome of good sense. To the ideologues of the transgender movement, however, it is heresy. The claim that a child’s ‘gender identity’ is immutably fixed, and identified by the child at four, or three, or even two, is often made by trangenderists and their allies and facilitators. It serves an obvious political purpose, bolstering the ‘born this way’ narrative. However, I have never seen any research evidence that supports it.

Is Mr Justice Hayden aware that he is going against a cherished tenet of transgender ideology? I think he probably is – he’s clearly well-informed – and doesn’t care one bit. No good purpose is served by pandering to the promoters of unsupported and unlikely notions. There is little point, even, in undertaking a debate with them, since their arguments typically disintegrate as soon as they are closely examined. There is a great deal to be said for simply stating reason plainly, and leaving it to the other side to find rational grounds to criticise – if they can.

The judgement is highly critical of the local authority for its persistent failure to intervene in a case where, as Mr Justice Hayden says, ‘there were strong grounds for believing that a child was at risk of serious emotional harm’. He continues: ‘I propose to invite the Director of Children’s Services to undertake a thorough review of the social work response to this case.  Professional deficiencies to this extent cannot go unchecked…’ He raises as a special cause for concern the way the local authority ‘moved into wholesale acceptance that J should be regarded as a girl’, disregarding the fact that, as he states, ‘There was no independent or supportive evidence that J identified as a girl at all, indeed there was a body of material that suggested the contrary.’

He is certainly aware, at least to an extent, of the social and political pressures that have been placed on professionals as a result of the directions taken by transgender activism. He suspects (no doubt correctly) that this is part of the reason why the social workers involved with this case failed to conduct a proper assessment.  He makes it plain that he does not find that acceptable. He refers to ‘an emerging orthodoxy’ with, I think, a clear implication that it hasn’t been adequately scrutinised:

Transgender equality has received a great deal of attention in recent times.  I believe that in this case the profile and sensitivity of the matters raised by the mother blinded a number of professionals from applying their training, skills and, it has to be said, common sense.  They failed properly to investigate M’s assertions, in part I suspect, because they did not wish to appear to be challenging an emerging orthodoxy in such a high profile issue.

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32 thoughts on “The boy who ‘lived in stealth’: Judge challenges ’emerging orthodoxy’

  1. Interesting how little reporting this case got in the UK particularly as The UK is obsessed with demonising Social Workers. A similiar case in which a 14 yr old been threatened with removal from parents because they refuse to use the child’s ‘new name’ also received little media attention. When it did it was given a slant of the parents being very religious do inferred criticism. I am reliably informed by lawyer on the case they found it very difficult to find a news outlet prepared to run stories which criticise the Transgender narrative.

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    • This isn’t accurate. Both cases received extensive coverage by the Daily Mail, an unpleasant, rather right wing tabloid. The stories were also covered by The Times and the one about the little boy was covered by The Guardian. So widespread national press coverage. The Guardian, a left wing broadsheet, is so keen on all trans issues that it has long thrown feminism under the bus, was critical of the decision as I recall, but the others reported it straight.

      These are the three news sites of which I am aware. There may be others.

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      • The Guardian article about the case discussed in this post is credited to the Press Association (a UK news agency). I don’t think it is critical of the judge’s decision. There were also pieces in the Telegraph, Independent, Mirror, Metro, Sun, and Pink News.

        The Sun and the Mail both made a particular feature of the judge’s criticisms of the social workers involved.

        Pink News features a choice quote taken from the Mermaids twitter stream but is circumspect in its own comments on the case.

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      • I take your point. It would be more accuate to say that no media outlet is giving the issue balance and critique. Many contributory aspects are ignored and reporting fails to utilise the experiences and observations such as found on this site. My biggest concern is that support agencies fail to address it as a symptom. At least that has been my e patience.

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      • It would be more accurate to say that no media outlet is giving the issue balance and critique.

        With regard to the Guardian in particular: as web advertising revenues decline, it is starting to struggle financially. It has acknowledged taking money from private foundations:

        ‘The Guardian works with a number of private foundations around the world who support specific projects. Examples of these relationships include:

        • A grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help support the Guardian’s Global Development site

        • The … Open Society Foundations have given their support to the award-winning Reading the Riots series …’ etc, etc.

        We should note that the Guardian claims that ‘editorial independence remains unaffected’.

        However, we should also notice ‘Examples … include’: this is not full transparency. Nor is it up-to-date: the statement is dated 23 July 2015. I cannot find a more recent one.

        In the present context, it is particularly interesting to see that the Guardian acknowledges taking money from the Open Society Foundations (OSF): strong supporters of transactivism. (More relevant material here.)

        The OSF were set up by billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros. Here are some of the pharmaceutical companies in which Soros Fund Management has invested in the last few years:

        * Abbvie: products include top-selling testosterone gel AndroGel and Lupron
        * Teva Pharmaceutical Industries: products include a generic version of AndroGel and other testosterone products; also estradiol in various forms
        * Endo International: makes Fortesta testosterone gel and other testosterone products
        * Allergan: products include Androderm testosterone patch and estradiol in several different forms
        * Abbott Laboratories: products include Femoston (estradiol and dydrogesterone)

        All the products named above are used by transitioners: just search on the web under the various product names coupled with ‘transgender’. If you want details of Soros’s investment in the companies, search under the company name and Soros Fund Management.

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      • Artemesia —

        Great reporting. the Soros stuff is illuminating in particular, as I always wondered about the link between Soros and trans issues, and what the nature of his interest actually is.

        The amount of push in the media around trans issues during the past few years is not a spontaneous phenomenon. The number of affected people is so out of proportion with the amount of coverage, which is generally only allowed to reflect the “accepted” narrative. It takes $$ for this kind of outreach and shaping of public communication. I had no idea of the links among OSF, Soros, and the pharm purveyors of T.

        I’m such a nicely socialized female that I always try to think the best of ppl, always try to put myself in their shoes, view their motives with some sort of kindness or at least an attempt at understanding. Try to tell myself the activists really believe they are working on a human rights/justice issue here and that they think they are doing a good thing, a life-saving thing.

        But then I see stuff like this, Artemesia — the underlying nasty linkages — and kick myself once again for my naivete. Clearly the world we’re living in is nothing like my nice-girl fantasy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There was a flurry of petitions on Facebook here, with the story being given that J was being “forced to live as a boy” against his will. No mention of M not ensuring he was educated, and the many concerns people had about his general care.

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  3. “By October 2015 the court and the local authority had lost track of J. His home address was not known, he was not attending school, and M was not co-operating with the court-appointed guardian over her efforts to get in touch. ”

    During this time Mermaids presumably knew about this and approved of the child disappearing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have read reports recently from services which assess disorders ranging from Autisttic Spectrum to ADHD to ODD and various anxiety related disorders. Where gender confusion is present it used to be seen as a diagnostic trait. Increasingly there is a fear around stating this. Where a diagnosis is borderline this can mean the difference between access to support or not. I include this here because in the case of the 14 yr old girl media reports stated parents suspected ASD. A related factor is the failure to identify mental health issues in the mother of the four year old. Again because no one is allowed to question Transgender identification.

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  6. Today’s Guardian has an article “Transgender children: the parents and doctors on the frontline” …which at the end says “The Mermaids charity offers family and individual support for teenagers and children with gender identity issues.” with the Mermaids website link.

    Much more interesting are the comments to the article….

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  7. This brings up a lot of conflicting opinions for me. I do not to see like children being removed from mother’s custody, and in the US there are far too many fathers given custody and visitation with little consideration of the harm to the child. That said, a mother’s refusal to allow visitation of a father who has not been violent or otherwise abusive to the child is suspicious and I am appalled that the court went along with it. Refusing visitation because the child would be harmed by mother throwing a tantrum? If mother insists on throwing tantrums that damaging, why would she have custody? In the family courts I am familiar with visitation would have been ordered regardless of the objections of the mother, but Mermaids seem to change everything. It shows how insane institutions become when faced with trans politics. I applaud the judge for reprimanding the social workers involved in the case. They seem to have been following a policy of conforming to the demands of trans activists to avoid backlash, and if they had done the right thing here there WOULD have been lots of media coverage castigating those bad awful bigoted social workers trying to convert trans kids. Some professional misconduct evaluations here would actually do the social workers a favor by making it possible to do their job. I am, by the way, a retired social worker.

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  8. Textbook case of Munchausen by proxy, usually caused by malignant narcissism. I’ve been victim of that myself, but not for transgenderism.

    Kid’s lucky he got out soon. Those groups (mermaids) disgust me, they support this monster. Malignant narcissists are not human, the kid’s mom is not human. I hope they burn in hell. The psychological damage is horrendous, after 17 years it took me about 10 to be fixed, and even then it required talking recently to someone who stood on the sidelines and couldn’t do anything, and have her spill out the whole true story now that she’s retired, to fix the mental blocks I couldn’t fix via therapy. I needed to know the truth for my self image to be fixed.

    Yeah, this is horrendous, and the mom should be forced by court of law to cut all contact, and mermaids should mind their damned business.

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    • I’m so sorry you went through that, Phil. I’m glad you have found your way to healing. Your statement really makes me wonder why more of these parents are not evaluated for Munchausen. While these people are celebrated, the rest of us sit behind our computer screens desperately searching for anything that will help our kids and prevent them from becoming permanent medical patients. The thought of my daughter taking testosterone for the rest of her life and having major surgeries has made me physically ill. But those of us who are looking for another way to help our kids are the monsters.

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      • I’m sorry you’ve suffered too Phil, but trying to look at this disspationally (not sure on the spelling there), the mother is either ill because of the possible munchausen, or truly believes she is helping her child. The truth of the matter is that we can just speculate on the ins and outs of the case.

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      • Well, it’s not about me here haha, just thought my experience with Munchausen might give the speculation more weight.

        Munchausen is not a recognized mental illness, it is highly debated (mothers against munchausen), and is often found in pathological narcissists, which is nearly impossible to diagnose medically since they can make themselves look normal.

        I have once asked a social worker about Munchausen, and there seems to be one case a year, in the province I live in.

        @Oopster: I’m not looking at this with emotion, at the very least my emotions is directed at the behaviour in general but does not affect my objectivity.

        I’m not quite sure what you mean but overall I believe I agree, you can only speculate, there is no way to prove either.

        That said, it could be both. Narcissists are professional liars – and a believable lie is a lie you believe yourself.

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  9. I find it odd that the court gave custody to the father, when he seems to have not been in the picture for quite a while. Grandparents or foster parents would seem to make more sense to me for a start. As for the child in this case (I’m not going to refer to them using anything other than gender neutral pronouns for the time being), there doesn’t appear to be anyone asking them how they feel about anything. You have to be very careful what questions you ask kids. I’m sure my teachers thought I had reading problems at school, so was sent to the “extra help” class once a week, when the truth was I could read before I started school, I just preferred books with pictures in them.

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    • Oopster74, there is no reason the child should not be with his father. The article states that the child’s father, since 2013, had been attempting to go through proper legal channels to get a shared custody/visitation arrangement put in place by the courts. The article also states the father simply wanted access to his child and was not determined to remove the child from his mother. It sounds to me as though the father not being in the picture is due to the mother willfully keeping the child from him.

      The article further states that at one point, the various agencies investigating the case could not find the mother or her child, as she had moved and failed to notify anyone of their new address, and had removed him from school. It seems to me that the mother was purposely denying the father the opportunity to see his child, going so far as to hide the child from his father and from authorities.

      Also according to the article, the child has a court-appointed guardian. Of course we do not have access to conversations between the child and guardian, but it seems a given that the guardian would most certainly have spoken with the child about his preference re: presenting as a girl or boy, as the guardian’s job is to investigate the situation and make a recommendation to the court based upon what is best for the child — and whether the child actually wanted to present himself to the world as a girl is the million-dollar question in this case.

      It sounds to me as though the child and his father are finally being heard by caring, professional court officials who have the child’s best interest at heart, and that the case is finally being given the fair, open, unbiased scrutiny it deserved since day one.

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      • If I’d have explained myself better then you wouldn’t have needed to write all that lol. I was simply meaning that the father in this case, because he hadn’t seen his child in so long is essentially a stranger to the kid, that’s why him getting custody surprised me.

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      • Yet you suggested foster care would have been a better option? People the child has never met? For all we know the child had been longing to see his father all these years. We really don’t know all these details of the situation.

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    • With reference to your suggestion that “there doesn’t appear to be anyone asking [the child] how they feel about anything”: I think that is an unwarranted inference. The child has had a number of interviews with Jean Sambrooks, a consultant clinical psychologist (who, by the way, is certainly neither anti-trans nor inexperienced: she ran a gender identity clinic for more than 25 years) and has also been interviewed by a social worker acting as the child’s court-appointed guardian. [See the judgement (linked above) for more information.]

      As for your statement that “the father … seems to have not been in the picture for quite a while”: true, but not his fault. It is clear from the judgement, and I believe it is also made clear in my post, that the father had regular contact with the child for several years after the birth. Then the mother barred his access. He wished to remain in touch with the child and when the mother continued to resist this, he went to court to seek to have his contact with the child restored. The fact that the proceedings dragged on was down to the mother’s intransigence.

      I fail to see in what way it would be better for this child to be placed with foster parents than go to live with his father.

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    • I agree that the child’s feelings should be considered. In terms of the father, I gather from the article that he has been fighting to see his child since 2013, when the visitation agreement broke down. The father has not been shown to be an unfit parent, so he has the right to raise his child. Mothers should not get special treatment over fathers when it comes to raising children in a divorce or breakup situation. Why would the child be put in a foster care situation with total strangers when the father wants to raise his child and does not present a risk to the child?

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    • Oopster, I don’t mean to be patronizing here, but your comments (repeated as they have been) about the relationship between this boy and his father do seem to indicate a certain lack of experience in the parenting department.

      Whether or not the boy and his father have been close, or what the reason for that has been, the fact remains that this is an extremely young child. He has years and years ahead of him to enjoy being with his biological father, to learn from and be guided by him. In fact, given how young he is, he may not even remember much of the time that he spent before being reunited with his father.

      People who do not know their biological parents, for whatever reason, often experience this as an extremely traumatic and upsetting state of affairs; a loss that can never be remedied; a hole that can never be filled. Parents are not interchangeable parts. It isn’t, “one parent figure is as good as any other.” People who grew up under closed adoption, for instance, often go to extraordinary lengths to find their biological parents, no matter how wonderful their adoptive parents may be.

      It also seems that you would ignore the terrible loss that the father would experience in being separated from his child. I know it is common, when one has only been on the “child” side of things and not the “parent” side, to see things only from the child’s perspective. But that does not mean it is the only interest or value at stake.

      There are many very good reasons why courts are highly reluctant to sever the parent-child relationship. Certainly if there is a biological parent who is ready, willing and able to parent the child, it would be almost inconceivable for a court to grant custody to someone else. And that is almost always the right decision.

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      • I’m not a parent no, but my thinking of foster parents first, would be a transitionary situation, a few weeks to give both parent and child time to plan, prepare etc. I’m not a social worker or know the details of the case, so I don’t know what would be “the norm” here, I’m simply speculating, so am probably a million miles away from what would normally happen.

        I don’t think you’re being patronising though, we all have different knowledge / ignorance levels, so there’s nothing wrong with educating people 🙂

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      • People who do not know their biological parents, for whatever reason, often experience this as an extremely traumatic and upsetting state of affairs; a loss that can never be remedied; a hole that can never be filled.

        Absolutely, and you put it very well. I know someone in that position.

        I note that Judge Penna rejected the initial recommendation from CAFCASS that contact with the father should be severed expressly on the grounds that ‘J’s welfare needs … include a need to have a rounded sense of his identity as he grows older’. Mr Justice Hayden endorses this opinion in his judgement.

        I think this indicates that both judges, as experienced family court specialists, were alert to exactly the kind of damaging experience you are describing.

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    • Reading the judgement it does sound as if the child settled with his father, and there’s quite a bit of careful reporting of the child’s own comments, including him correcting the assumption he was a girl in school and stating he was a boy. It’s true about it being difficult when asking kids questions, though it does seem people are trying to ask him how he feels about things but he is not always very responsive (very understandably in the circumstances), but has begun to open up. The father seems quite willing to be understanding so it didn’t seem like he’d be pushed towards stereotypical ‘boy things’ if he didn’t like them, at least.

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  10. I agree, Munchhausen’s by Proxy or at least some other personality disorder. Is anyone reminded of the mother of the bad guy in Insidious Part II movie or is it just me?

    I do wonder, if this mom had been a lesbian or bisexual, would she have gotten as much support if she was throwing temper tantrums insisting her son was bisexual or gay? Probably not. At least she wouldn’t be getting support from Mermaids, because they are anti-gay: https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/the-anti-gay-agenda-of-mermaids-uk-transgender-children-charity-and-political-lobby/

    Like

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