Boy ‘living life entirely as a girl’ removed from mother’s care by judge
A seven-year-old boy who was “living life entirely as a girl” has been removed from his mother’s care after a ruling by a high court judge. Mr Justice Hayden said the mother had caused her son “significant emotional harm” and he went on to say the mother had been “absolutely convinced” her son “perceived himself as a girl“. Consequently she was determined that her son should be a girl. The judge also criticised local authority social services staff responsible for the youngster’s welfare. He said social services staff had “moved into wholesale acceptance that [the boy] should be regarded as a girl“. He said he wanted the council to undertake a review of the “social work response” to the case. A council spokesperson said that a review has already begun.
When dealing with separated parents the Court will make an order that is in the best interests of a child. The concept of shared parenting is the starting point with the child seeing both parents and living with each of them in a shared care pattern. Only in exceptional circumstance, like this case, will the Court look to swap a child’s main residence from one parent to another. In this particular case District Judge Hayden felt that the child needed to start living with his father in order to see whether his “desire” to be a girl was of his own making or was an influence by his mother.
The judge received reports that on this occasion the boy had settled in well at his father’s and the judge “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. 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.”
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.