Father Jailed For Referring To His Transgender Son By Female Pronouns

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Father Jailed For Referring To His Transgender Son By Female Pronouns

A Canadian man has been jailed for violating a court order that prevented him from speaking publicly about his son’s transition. 

The man was found in contempt of court on March 16, 2020, after publicly using “she” and “her” pronouns while talking about his teen son and referring to him as his “daughter.” 

The teen was assigned female at birth but has reportedly identified as male since he was 11 and changed his name at age 12. 

Why was this father jailed for misgendering his trans son?

The father, named Robert Hoogland, who has been publicly protesting his son’s transition, was reportedly in breach of a court order that prevented him from undermining his son’s choice to transition, ruling that this could be seen as a form of family violence. 

The gag order came after the father took legal action against the child’s mother in 2018, arguing he should have a say in whether or not his son accesses gender-affirming treatment.

The court ruled in favor of the son, now 16, declaring that he is mature enough to make his own decision regarding his transition. 

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In an effort to prevent any further mental anguish for the teen, the court barred Hoogland from speaking to the media about the case. 

Among other restrictions the court order stated:

“CD shall be restrained from: i. attempting to persuade AB to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria; ii. addressing AB by his birth name; and iii. referring to AB as a girl or with female pronouns whether to AB directly or to third parties.”

Following the order, the father continued to take his story to the media, publicly referred to his son with female pronouns and objecting to his transition. 

Hoogland was, therefore, convicted of family violence on the basis that he had declined to use his child's preferred masculine pronouns.

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Trans youths need their pronouns respected. 

Respecting gender identities and pronouns can be life-saving for trans youths.

Keith Dent, a relationship and family coach, tells us, “As a father, it's critical that you affirm your children, no matter their gender identification. It's not your job to place your values on your child, but to meet them where they are and support them.”

“If you devalue your child because you don't understand their choices, it's your job to ask or talk to a professional so you do understand.”

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Studies show that trans and gender non-conforming youth who reported having their pronouns respected by all or most of the people in their lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those whose pronouns were disregarded.

Personal development coach Christine Hourd tells us that communication is key to understanding one’s gender identity. 

“If one’s beliefs don’t have the collection of knowledge to process information around transgender, they’ll reject it,” she says.

“Identity is vital for a person’s well-being, and when not respected or acknowledged by their family, there needs to be discussions to build understanding, not to dispute who is right or wrong.”

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.