B.C. court battle between dad and transgender child backed by mom will have intervenors

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      A B.C. Court of Appeal judge has allowed a number of organizations to intervene in a family dispute.

      It involves a fight between a father and his transgender child, who is backed by the youth’s mother in the litigation.

      The father is appealing orders by two lower court judges favouring the 14-year-old child, who is seeking hormone treatments.

      One judge ruled that it is in the best interest of the child to get the treatments.

      The father questions whether the child actually gave an informed consent.

      Another judge ordered the father to desist from addressing the child by the youth’s birth name, and to stop using the female pronoun in referring to the youth.

      The father argues that compelling him to refer to his child in the male pronoun violates his freedom of expression.

      A hearing on the father’s appeal will be held in September this year.

      In advance of the hearing, six organizations plus the office of the Attorney General of B.C. can submit papers relating to the case.

      In reasons for judgment, Justice Richard Goepel granted intervenor status to six organizations.

      One is the Provincial Health Services Authority. The PHSA is a public health service provider, and manages the B.C. Children’s Hospital, which has a specialized gender clinic.

      The second is the B. West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund. West Coast LEAF is a nonprofit that advocates for women and transgender people.

      The third is the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health. CPATH is dedicated to transgender, two-spirit, and gender-diverse individuals.

      The fourth is Egale Canada Human Rights Trust. Egale is committed to LGBT rights.

      The fifth is Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. The JCCF does not believe that courts should compel certain forms of speech.

      The sixth is the Association for Reformed Political Action Canada. ARPA is concerned with charter rights.

      Goepel did not grant intervenor status to the Qmunity BC’s Queer Resources Centre Society. Also failing to get status was Karen Litzcke, an individual who is critical of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) instruction in schools.

      “To be granted intervenor status, the applicant must show it has some direct interest in the outcome of the proceeding (‘direct interest basis’) or, alternatively, if the appeal raises public law issues, must demonstrate it can bring a perspective that is different and useful to the court in resolving those issues (‘public interest basis’)…,” according to Goepel.

      The office of the Attorney General of B.C. also sought to intervene in the case.

      According to Goepel, the Attorney General has the right to intervene in a proceeding under the Family Law Act.