An Australian court has allowed a 17-year-old girl who believes she is a boy to have her breasts surgically removed, it was reported.
The teenager had been on hormone treatment since age 13 to block puberty and applied to the Family Court for permission to undergo a double mastectomy to make it easier for her to pass as a boy, Fairfax newspapers reported.
The paper reported the youth, referred to as Alex, suffered from "gender identity dysphoria," a psychological condition where a person has the normal physical characteristics of one sex but believes they are the opposite gender.
Family Court chief justice Diana Bryant said the court decided to allow the breast removal because evidence from medical experts, Alex's counsellor and an independent children's lawyer "overwhelmingly" backed the move.
Bryant said Alex could have had the operation without court approval at age 18, although that would have meant the teenager missed out on social support services available to a minor.
She said Alex, who lives life as a male, was socially constrained by the breasts and had to avoid being hugged and wear binding when visiting the beach.
"So it was quite an impediment to his social development, which everyone thought was very important," Bryant said.
The Age reported that Alex had identified as a male since early childhood and the court believed there was a risk of self harm when it cleared the way for the then 13-year-old to receive hormone treatment.
That decision prompted intense debate at the time, with some ethicists arguing a child was in no position to make such a major decision.