LINDSAY, ONTARIO— The provincial government of Ontario has passed legislation that allows children to be removed from parents who oppose their expression of “gender identity” or “gender expression.” The new law could also become a point of contention in custody battles in families with transgender children.
“This law directs courts and social workers to consider a child’s gender identity when determining the best interests of the child,” said Russell Alexander, a noted family lawyer who is author of the new book“The Path to a Successful Divorce,” which was recently named a no. 1 Amazon bestseller. “In cases where the parents disagree over how best to raise a transgender child, that could prove decisive in awarding custody.”
Whether a child should be removed from a home where the parents oppose a child’s declaration of his or her homosexuality or choice of gender. The principle behind this part of the legislation is that a parent who refuses to recognize a child’s preference in this regard is actually perpetrating abuse; the child’s removal from the home environment and into child protection facilities would prevent further abuse from occurring.
Supporters of the law argue that it will protect transgender children when they are most vulnerable, while critics argue that it is an unwarranted incursion into the rights of parents, particularly those relating to religion.
“Deciding the best interest of the child is one of the trickiest things that a court can be asked to do,” added Alexander. “This law provides a general sense of which way the government thinks things should go, but actual cases are typically quite messy. There may be few cases where there’s such a clear-cut difference that this proves decisive, but it’s still something divorcing parents should be aware of.”
Note: Alexander is a noted family lawyer in the Ontario region with nearly 20 years of experience. To learn more about his new book, visit: www.russellalexander.com/book.