'Isaac is a resilient and resourceful young person who was facing many challenges: in a minority regarding his gender identification, with English as his second language, several legal issues confronting him and, on top of all of this, was the subject of family violence.' – Isaac’s lawyer

Isaac*, born overseas and living since his teens with extended family in Australia, had always had a powerful sense that though he was assigned a female gender at birth, this did not match his own sense of his identity − feelings which crystallised once he reached puberty.

He first contacted us was when he was 16 and trying to find out his rights in relation to his school’s insistence that he wear a dress.

Isaac was also at risk of family violence. His family, both here and overseas, strongly opposed his wish to live as a male and were threatening to forcibly remove him from the country.

We ensured that he was placed on an Airport Watch List so that this could not occur, and then helped Isaac apply to the Family Court for consent to begin medical treatment.

After considering reports from experts, the court ruled that he was competent to provide informed consent for his own treatment, and made an order giving Isaac sole parental responsibility for making medical decisions for himself.

This decision set new ground in clarifying children’s legal rights around serious medical procedures. It was the first time the Family Court had decided that a child could make their own decision about medical treatment for gender alignment, even if that decision was not supported by their parents.

* We have changed our client's name to protect his privacy.