A boy of three was dressed in a girl’s uniform for school after living with foster parents whose own son transitioned to being female at the age of seven.
The younger child was taken to school dressed as a girl despite teachers “expressly” asking the foster couple to put him in boys’ clothing.
The parents at the centre of the case, which came to light in a court judgment released last week, also had a third child in their care who had “gender identity issues”.
The couple, known only as CP and TP, were investigated by Lancashire County Council’s social services amid accusations they had “manipulated” their children’s gender and risked causing them “significant emotional harm”.
The council initially wanted five children who were living with the couple taken into care. But last Friday the couple were exonerated by a High Court judge who praised them as “good parents”, and “attuned and careful”.
Mr Justice Williams said:
“The evidence from almost all sources of how the children are prospering in the care of CP and TP provides very powerful support to the contention that CP and TP are good parents.”
The judgment provides further insight into the couple who had been foster carers for 16 years. Two of the five children who were the subjects of the court proceedings were their natural children and three were fostered.
The Tavistock Centre, Hampstead, London. The Gender Identity Development Service is for children and young people, and their families, who experience difficulties in the development of their gender identity. The only service of its kind in Great Britain.
Their youngest natural child, known only as R, now 13, transitioned from male to female at the age of seven. The foster parents took immediate steps to legally firm up her new identity and changed her name by deed poll and got a new passport.
But R remained unhappy and told a member of staff at her school a few months later that “she did not think life was worth living”, the judgment reveals.
Shortly after R transitioned, a boy, known as H, was fostered by the family. By January 2016, at the age of three, he was “being dressed in girls’ clothes”, it said.
Foster mother TP reportedly told a teacher: “Here’s another one for the Tavistock (clinic)”, the court papers disclose.
The following year when H was four he started school and the judgment stated: “The school requested H attend in a boy’s uniform. However in September H came in a girl’s uniform.”
Last July Lancashire council began proceedings to remove all five children from the couple over concerns they had “acted in a precipitate manner in relation to perceived gender dysphoria”.
However the council withdrew its attempts for reasons that remain unclear. Last Friday Mr Justice Williams, based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, permitted the council to abandon the litigation it had initiated.
He said: “The lives of the family should now proceed on the basis that those concerns were comprehensively dispelled as a result of the inquisitorial process that has been undertaken.”
“I observed during the course of the hearing that issues relating to gender identity and the medical understanding of such issues is complex and developing.”