A 4-year-old Australian child has begun the process of having a sex change with financial assistance from the New South Wales Department of Education. The child hasn't yet started kindergarten, and many critics warn the child is way too young to make such a consequential life decision.
According to the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph, the NSW Department of Education revealed the child is the youngest person in that country to be in the process of transitioning genders for eventual gender reassignment. Education department representatives reportedly are assisting the child's family by using funds from the Safe School program.
The Daily Telegraph reports the case of this 4-year-old surfaced during a hearing about state government budget estimates, which focused on the Safe Schools program.
According to Christian Post, NSW deputy secretary of school operations Gregory Prior said during the hearing that there are "a number of students who are going through gender transition in our schools, with the youngest being a 4-year-old at the moment."
"Without breaching privacy, we have a 4-year-old who is transitioning to kindergarten next year who has identified as transgender," Prior said. "The Safe Schools is only one resource that can be used from a variety of resources in how we would support that family, student and school to accommodate a child going through transition."
No personal details were disclosed about the current gender of the child. However, Yahoo reported the child hoped to complete the gender transition by 2017.
Criticism about this particular case has even come from people who would consider themselves to be pro-LGBT, reports Christian Post.
Australian transgender rights advocate Catherine McGregor, who has spoken out in the past about the "radical left-wing agenda" of the Safe Schools program, told The Daily Telegraph she is surprised by the news of this development. She also said she believes there needs to be checks in place to make sure no premature mistakes are made that would haunt children for the rest of their lives.
"I would have thought 4 is pretty young for any official policy support," she said.
"In my experience, kids with strong cross-gender identification tend to get it right. However, I can understand there would be caution on the part of the department and medical practitioners on making any irreversible decisions at that stage."
Clinical psychologist Rose Cantali said in Yahoo she and other psychologists would consider four years old too young to begin any sort of gender transition.