Canadian Journal of Family Law


Claire Houston

First Page


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Family court judges are increasingly being asked to resolve parenting disputes involving conflict over a child’s gender expression or identity. These disputes ask whether it is in the best interests of children to support their gender nonconformity, including any decision to transition to a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. Despite more of these cases coming before family courts, judges have little guidance on how to resolve these cases in the best interests of children. Drawing on medical and social science literature and reported decisions, and applying a robust theory of children’s participation rights, this article offers a number of suggestions for resolving parental conflicts over a child’s gender, including hearing and placing significant weight on the views and preferences of the child, and presuming that supporting a child’s gender nonconformity is in the child’s best interests.