Transgender rights advocates have welcomed a Family Court decision to allow a trans teenager to delay the onset of puberty.

The Family Court last week ruled to allow a 14-year-old to begin hormone treatment to stop the onset of puberty, to make the transition from male to female easier when she comes of legal age to have gender re-assignment.

Known as Bernadette, the 14-year-old had identified as female from the age of three. The court accepted a psychiatrist’s concerns that without treatment Bernadette could suffer psychological problems and could harm herself as a result.

Gender Centre spokeswoman Katherine Cummings said the decision would benefit the young woman in question and also set a precedent for others.

“Puberty is such a terrible experience for people going either way,” she told Sydney Star Observer.

“It destroys one’s confidence, and if we only had the assurance that we could put it off until such time as we’re allowed to make the decision [to have surgery], then it could only be a good thing.

“There are not only psychological benefits. In the case of male to female, a person who goes through puberty’s voice breaks, they grow facial hair.

“All of these things have to be reversed after puberty, if they do go through with affirmation. They have to go through electrolysis, voice changing, possibly a tracheal shave. All of these things are painful, embarrasing, expensive and unnecessary.”

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