In a rare court case, parents of a transgender teen lost custody rights after refusing to get their 17-year-old the hormone treatments needed for his transition. In Hamilton County, Ohio, Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon awarded custody to the boy’s grandparents who will be able to give him the medical attention his medical team has suggested.
According to court testimony, the boy’s parents did not want to provide hormone treatments and refused to call him by his chosen name. The parents wanted to deny the treatments that his medical team had prescribed for him. The parents’ attorney had argued that the child was not “even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time.”
The refusal caused suicidal feelings in the young man.
The prosecuting attorney argued that the parents did not want to go through with treatment based on their religious beliefs alone. The judge agreed. In addition to gaining custody, the grandparents will also be able to put the boy on their insurance plan to cover his treatments. They will also be able to petition to change the boy’s name in probate court.
There is one caveat to the ruling: the teen will be evaluated by a psychologist who isn’t affiliated with the current facility where he is receiving treatment, on “the issue of consistency in the child’s gender presentation, and feelings of non-conformity.”
His medical team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he has been treated since 2016, advised the court that he should start treatment as soon as possible to decrease his suicide risk.
Whether or not you support transgender people’s right to associate as the gender which they are most comfortable, this is an actual problem. Likely, we will be seeing more cases similar in nature because of unbending, traditional ideas surrounding gender. A person doesn’t have to be transgender to understand the inner turmoil of all parties involved in these scenarios, especially that of the transgender person.
Genitals no longer define gender in America. Those who feel as though they have been cast into the wrong body are finding the strength to stand up to the skeptical and take their futures, and well-being, into their own hands. We applaud them.