A juvenile court judge in Ohio will decide Friday whether Ohio parents will lose legal custody of their daughter because they are preventing her from receiving transgender hormone therapy, according to CNN.
How did the case start?
A 17-year-old girl in Ohio, who identifies as a male, was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, depression and anxiety disorder in 2016.
She complained to a crisis center in November 2016 that she didn’t feel safe in her home because her father told her to commit suicide because she was “going to hell anyway.”
She also complained that her parents pulled her out of mental health counseling and put her in Christian therapy where she was forced to sit in a room and listen to Bible readings for hours at a time.
She wants to receive hormone therapy to begin transitioning to a boy, but her parents are forbidding it.
Hamilton County Job and Family Services took legal custody of the girl, and placed her in her grandparents’ home temporarily.
The girl’s court-appointed guardian is seeking full legal custody for the grandparents, who support her desire to receive gender transition treatments.
What the teen’s supporters say
The girl’s medical team believes that the lack of support from her parents is contributing to her suicidal feelings.
Even being called by her given name has allegedly caused her trauma, to the point where she is no longer interested in college because the mail she gets from schools has her birth name, according to Thomas Mellott, her attorney.
The girl’s legal team cites experts who say delaying the hormone therapy for her transition is dangerous.
“If your child had asthma and was turning blue, you wouldn’t deny them their albuterol inhaler or say ‘let’s wait,’” said Michelle Forcier, a pediatrician who works with transgender patients as young as 4. “If this were cancer or diabetes, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but people get funny when it comes to medical care when gender is involved, and that’s harmful.”
Mellott also cited the parents’ religious objection to the transition treatment as a reason they should lose custody.
What did those against the transition say?
The parents say their objection to their daughter’s transition comes from “collecting thousands of hours of research” and doing their due diligence by contacting medical professionals, as well as their religious beliefs.
While they are fighting to maintain legal custody of their child, they would allow her to live with her grandparents even if they win.
Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, told The Christian Post that the comparison of gender dysphoria to diseases such as cancer is dangerous.
“A child suffering from gender dysphoria has a fixed belief contrary to physical reality,” Cretella said. “This is a delusion. A delusion is not any person’s ‘authentic self.’”
Peter Sprigg, senior research fellow at the Family Research Council, told The Christian Post that the girl's depression and anxiety make this a bad time for a life-altering decision like a gender transition.
"The threat of suicide by the child should be taken as evidence of a major mental health crisis requiring psychological intervention, and as a warning against making other major life changes at this time, not in favor of it," Sprigg said in an email.