Judge orders father of transgender B.C. teen not to give further interviews
A judge has ordered the father of a transgender teen who violated several court orders not to give any further interviews about his child’s case.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen also ordered that a video that contains an interview with the dad that was posted online in the past few days be removed from the internet.
The move came after lawyers for the teen went to court over concerns that the dad and several of his supporters — including former People’s Party of Canada candidate Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson and political activist Jenn Smith — had violated publication bans or prior court orders in the case.
The bans prevent identification of the teen and his father and mother, and the names of the medical professionals involved in providing the youth with medical treatments to transition to being a boy.
The court orders, mandating that the dad not discuss details of the case, were issued after the B.C. Court of Appeal in January upheld a ruling allowing the medical treatments to go ahead. The dad had opposed the testosterone injection treatments while the mother supported them.
Tammen issued his orders Wednesday after submissions from the parties, including lawyer Sarah Chaster, who told him that the dad had given interviews that were posted online on multiple platforms and which had violated the bans.
Chaster, who represents the teen, said the interviews represented “wilful” breaches of the bans and included the father identifying himself and naming the doctors involved in the case.
She said an interview posted Feb. 7 was removed two days later after a request from the teen’s lawyers but that the dad then participated in a second hour-long interview, this time with Thompson. In the second video, the dad spoke about the case in detail using his own name, identifying himself as the father of the teen and referring to his child as his daughter, all in violation of the court orders, said Chaster.
The video, which was posted on Twitter and YouTube, was removed only after correspondence with the social-media companies but it still remains online elsewhere, said Chaster.
Material posted online by Smith also violated the bans by naming the father and the medical professionals, she said.
An online interview with Smith and the dad had been scheduled for Wednesday night but the judge, quoting from the prior court orders, put a stop to that.
“What it clearly means is that what you cannot do is give interviews that are likely to be broadcast in any way, in any form and that’s what has occurred here,” the judge told the dad. “You’re simply not entitled to do that, sir. Do you understand that part of it?”
Replied the dad: “I completely understand that part of it, yes.”
The judge reminded the dad of the bans on the names of the parties in the case and said he had violated the orders.
“You must not do that, sir, you are in breach of the court order,” said the judge.
“I mean the reason I do it, or did it, is because I am taking the best interests of my child at heart,” said the dad.
The judge warned the dad that if there are any further breaches of the bans and court orders, the lawyers for the teen might come back to court and seek to have him cited for contempt of court and face serious consequences.
Tammen also told Thompson and Smith not to commit any further violations of the bans and court orders.
Thompson, who argued that the issue of transgender treatments in Canada is a “living, breathing nightmare,” said she was throwing herself at the mercy of the court. There was loud applause in the public gallery after her comments, with the judge ordering people not to clap any more in the courtroom.