Q. My 8 year old son has announced he wants to be recognised as a girl at school and my wife thinks we should allow this. I disagree. I think it is just a phase and is something he will grow out of. What can I do?
A. There are several organisations who can offer support to you and your family at this time. You should see your GP who will be fully versed in gender dysphoria. http://www.beaumontsociety.org.uk/ offer advice on transgender issues also.
Ultimately, if you can’t agree, it might be a decision that is made by the Family Court. You or your wife could apply to the Family Court for a specific issue or prohibited steps Order and the Court would have to decide whether to allow your son to live as a girl.
An officer of CAFCASS would almost definitely be appointed to represent your son’s views and ultimately the Court would make a decision after taking into account the welfare checklist as set out in the Children Act 1989. The factors to be taken into account would be the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned; the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs; the likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the court’s decision; the child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics which would be relevant to the court’s decision; any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering; the capability of the child’s parents (or any other person the courts find relevant) of meeting the child’s needs and the powers available to the court in the given proceedings.
This is however an extremely complex area of law and you should seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer before embarking upon such an application.