October 26, 2016
Judge Orders Child Not To Wear Girls’ Clothes In Public
A recent ruling in Alberta is raising questions about whether a judge should be able to exert control over a child’s clothing.
Last December, a judge in Medicine Hat, Alberta, ruled that a four-year old child is only permitted wear “masculine” clothing in public. The ruling, which was passed down family court, came amidst a custody battle between the child’s parents and goes against the wishes of the child’s primary caregiver.
The child, who was born biologically male, is now five years old — and began claiming years ago that they were female. The child began introducing themselves as a girl, and would routinely respond with anger when called a boy by their mother. Things escalated even further when the child threatened to cut off their own genitals.
That was the final straw for the child’s mother, who then decided that she would enlist the help of professionals and take her child’s claims more seriously. She began to refer to her child as a girl, which elicited much appreciation.
After the mother told the father — from whom she is separated — about these developments, he filed for primary custody of their child. He also credited the mother as the source of their child’s gender “confusion.”
Last winter, the child’s parents took up their custody dispute in Medicine Hat family court. It was there that Judge Derek Redman ruled that the mother could remain the primary caregiver, but the child was not allowed to wear blatantly feminine clothes while in public.
A few months later, the case was taken up by another judge. Judge Fred Fisher reaffirmed the clothing stipulation, but this time, gave primary custody to the child’s father.
Last month, a third judge — Judge Gordon Krinke — solicited the input of a parenting expert. He accordingly modified the clothing restriction and stipulated that the mother and father must provide their child with clothing for both genders. The child can then pick what clothing they feel is best.
Transgender activists have spoken out against these rulings, noting that the courts cannot decide what clothing a child wears — doing so contradicts the province’s Bill of Rights. In addition, boys who aren’t transgender are still legally permitted to wear dresses, which makes this ruling unfair.
For more on this story, visit the CBC.
Featured image source: Manitoba Courts