International lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activists are expressing concern over reports that an 11-year-old German transgender girl is in danger of being institutionalized.
Though exact details on the case are slim (at least in the English language media), International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) declared their support for the girl and her mother yesterday. The girl, identified by various media outlets only as "Alex," reportedly lives with her mother, who is supportive of her daughter, in Berlin. However, Alex's father, who is divorced from her mother, reportedly "rejects this view of his daughter's gender identity and wants to force her to grow up as a boy."
"If all else fails," Pink News noted, "there is a real and present possibility that pressure from her father, supported by the Youth Welfare Office in Berlin, means that Alex will shortly be confined in a closed ward of a psychiatric institution to ensure that 'he' returns to 'normality.'
Alex reportedly gave an interview to a German lifestyle publication earlier this month in which she stated that she has not only identified as female for as long as she can remember, but she is also accepted as female at school, where she has been registered as such from her earliest days there.
Meanwhile, Alex's father has reportedly insisted on calling his daughter "Alexander" and forcing her to wear boy's clothing. He is now believed to have gained the support of Berlin's Youth Welfare Office and is in the process of removing Alex from her mother's home.
"The board of IGLYO strongly advocates the rights of transgender youth and are concerned with the institutionalization of this happy and healthy child," IGLYO officials wrote in their statement. "We would like to highlight the endangerment of forced 'therapy' to make children fit into the gender roles the society thinks are right for them. IGLYO follows the wealth of research that shows that reparative therapy regarding sexual orientation or gender identity can be seriously harmful to the child."
Writes blogger Jane Fae: "This proposal by the Berlin Youth Welfare Office will be regarded widely as little more than child abuse and a fundamental breach of Alex's Human Rights."
Meanwhile, a petition in support of Alex has thus far drawn over 2,000 signatures. "This young girl will be taught how her feelings are wrong,and pushed more into the denial that has claimed the lives of so many transgendered people, thanks to biased decisions by the Youth Welfare office this child's life could be irrevocably ruined," it reads.
Click here to view the petition.
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