Florence Ashley
SJD Candidate
Thesis title:
Trans Youth’s Autonomy Where Law Meets Science
Office in Falconer Hall
84 Queen's Park
Toronto, M5S 2C5

Florence is a transfeminine doctoral student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. As part of their doctorate, they are also completing a Collaborative Specialization in Bioethics with the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. Their work, which is supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship, looks at the law and bioethics surrounding clinical practices towards trans youth, with a special emphasis on trans conversion therapy. Prior to joining the SJD program, Florence served as the first openly transfeminine clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, working in the chambers of Justice Sheilah Martin (2019-2020). Florence sits on the editorial board of the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies.

A deeply transdisciplinary scholar, Florence's work engages law, bioethics, social sciences, and trans studies and is published in journals just as broadly ranging. Their University of Toronto Law Journal article, “Don’t Be So Hateful: The Insufficiency of Anti-Discrimination and Hate Crime Laws in Improving Trans Wellbeing”, inspired the first special issue on trans law in Canadian history. Their article “Gatekeeping Hormone Replacement Therapy for Transgender Patients is Dehumanising​​” was selected as Editors Choice by the Journal of Medical Ethics and featured in a National Post articleTheir work on trans conversion therapy has been cited by the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. More recently, their article “Accounting for Research Fatigue in Research Ethics​​” was profiled in WIRED.

Outside of the university, Florence frequently contributes to media conversations on trans issues through op-eds and interviews. For their academic work, public advocacy, and leadership in trans communities, Florence was awarded the 2018-2019 Canadian Bar Association's SOGIC Hero Award.

Florence tweets @ButNotTheCity and maintains the website www.florenceashley.com.

McGill University Faculty of Law, LL.M. (Bioeth.) 2019
McGill University Faculty of Law, B.C.L./J.D. 2017
Awards and Distinctions
SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS-D (2020-2024)
Massey College Junior Fellow (2020-2022)
McGill University Scarlet Key Society (2019)
Forces AVENIR Graduate Personality Finalist Prize (2019)
Canadian Bar Association SOGIC Section Hero Award (2018-2019)
SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS-M (2018-2019)
McGill Research Group on Health and Law Fellowship (2017-2019)
Start Proud Student Leadership Scholarship (2018)
O’Brien Fellowship in Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (2017-2018)
John W. Cook, K.C. Prize (2017)
Bourse Dorais-Ryan (2017)
Edwin Botsford Busteed Scholarship (2017)
Students’ Society of McGill University Community Engagement Award (2016-2017)
Professional Affiliations
Gender Dysphoria Affirmative Working Group
World Professional Association for Transgender Health
Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health
Selected Publications

“Preventing Transition ‘Regret’: An Institutional Ethnography of Gender-Affirming Medical Care Assessment Practices in Canada” (2021) Social Science & Medicine [with Kinnon MacKinnon, Hannah Kia, June Lam, Yonah Krakowsky, & Lori Ross]

“The Clinical Irrelevance of ‘Desistance’ Research for Transgender and Gender Creative Youth” (2021) Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

“Simpson’s Paradox in LGBTQ+ Policy: A Case Study” (2021) 18 Sexuality Research and Social Policy 800

“The Continuum of Informed Consent Models in Transgender Health” (2021) 38:4 Family Practice 543 [with Nic Rider & Colt St Amand]

“Accounting for Research Fatigue in Research Ethics” (2020) Bioethics

“Transgender Healthcare Does Not Stop at the Doorstep of the Clinic” (2020) The American Journal of Medicine [with Sergio Domínguez]

“Humorous Styles of Cause in In Rem Actions: A Comparison of Canada and the United States” (2020) 24:1 Green Bag 2d 15

“L’In/visibilité constitutive du sujet trans : l’exemple du droit québécois” (2020) 35:1 Canadian Journal of Law and Society 317

“La citation comme culture académique : entre hiérarchie et créativité” (2020) 33 Études francophones 4

“Nuancing Feminist Perspectives on the Voluntary Intoxication Defence” (2020) 43:5 Manitoba Law Journal 65

“Homophobia, Conversion Therapy, and Care Models for Trans Youth: Defending the Gender-Affirmative Approach” (2020) 17:4 Journal of LGBT Youth 361

“A Critical Commentary on ‘Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria’” (2020) 68:4 The Sociological Review 779

“Surgical Informed Consent and Recognizing a Perioperative Duty to Disclose in Transgender Healthcare” (2020) 13:1 McGill Journal of Law and Health 73

“The Misuse of Gender Dysphoria: Toward Greater Conceptual Clarity in Transgender Health” (2020) Perspectives on Psychological Science

“Gatekeeping Hormone Replacement Therapy for Transgender Patients is Dehumanising” (2019) 45:7 Journal of Medical Ethics 480 (selected as Editor’s Choice)

“Les personnes non-binaires en français : une perspective concernée et militante” (2019) 11:14 H-France Salon art. 5

“Thinking an Ethics of Gender Exploration: Against Delaying Transition for Transgender and Gender Creative Youth” (2019) 24:2 Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 223

“Genderfucking Non-Disclosure: Sexual Fraud, Transgender Bodies, and Messy Identities” (2018) 41:2 Dalhousie Law Journal 339

“Don’t Be So Hateful: The Insufficiency of Anti-Discrimination and Hate Crime Laws in Improving Trans Wellbeing” (2018) 68:1 University of Toronto Law Journal 1

“Introduction – Canada” in Zhan Chiam, Sandra Duffy, and Matilda González Gil (eds.), Trans Legal Mapping Report 2017: Recognition Before the Law (Geneva: ILGA)

“Qui est-ille ? Le respect langagier des élèves non-binaires, aux limites du droit” (2017) 63:2 Service social 35–50


Research Interests
Charter of Rights
Criminal Law 
Feminist Analysis of Law
Health Law
Sexuality and the Law
Committee Members