A seven-year-old boy has been removed from his mother’s care by the high court, after he was found to be suffering “significant emotional harm” due to his mother raising him as a girl.
The judge in the case slammed social services who had simply accepted that the boy should be treated as a girl.
The High Court judge hearing the case, Mr Justice Hayden, told the court that he believed the mother had been “absolutely convinced” that the boy “perceived himself as a girl” and was therefore determined to treat him as a girl, according to reports.
However, the boy, who cannot be named and is now living with his father, has naturally reverted to having masculine interests since leaving the care of his mother, the court heard.
Family court proceedings began about three years ago after the father raised a complaint that he was not allowed access to his son. A lower-ranking judge authorised a “wide ranging” inquiry forcing local authority social services staff to begin investigations.
Justice Hayden said “flares of concern” for the boy’s wellbeing had been raised by a “whole raft of multi-disciplinary agencies”, and that he couldn’t understand why social services had “disregarded so summarily” those concerns.
He said social services staff had “moved into wholesale acceptance that [the boy] should be regarded as a girl”. He called on council to undertake a review of the “social work response” to the case; a council spokesperson said a review was already underway.
The judge considered evidence from boy’s parents, local authority social workers and a psychologist to make his ruling.
In his ruling, Justice Hayden said that the boy’s mother “told me that [he] was ‘living in stealth’ by which was meant, she explained, that he was living life entirely as a girl.
“He dressed, at all times, like a girl and, it transpired, had been registered at a new general practitioner’s as a girl.
“I was also left in no doubt that [the mother] was absolutely convinced that [the boy] perceived himself as a girl.”
Justice Hayden added that his “overwhelming impression” was that the mother “believes herself to be to fighting for [her son’s] right to express himself as a girl”.
The woman had told him that the boy “expressed disdain for his penis”, he said, adding: “I consider that [the mother] has caused significant emotional harm to [her son] in her active determination that he should be a girl.”
Justice Hayden commented upon the fact that the boy had settled in well with his father and his father’s partner, actively choosing, with no pressure from either adult, to pursue interests typically seen as masculine.
“I have been told that [the father] and his partner were shocked when they first saw [the boy] by the extent to which he appeared to be a girl, both in appearance and in mannerism,” said the judge. “However, what is striking is how well [the boy] has settled down.
“I have noted from reports that [the boy] has become interested in Power Rangers, SpongeBob, superheroes and is constantly finding new interests … It is striking that most of [the boy’s] interests are male-oriented.
He concluded: “I am entirely satisfied, both on the basis of the reports and [the father’s] evidence at this hearing, that he has brought no pressure on [the boy] to pursue masculine interests. [The boy’s] interests and energy are entirely self-motivated.”