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Judge Cites 'Fact' of Teen's 'Right' to Transgender Identity in Taking Her From Parents' Custody

man and woman images on transgender bathroom sign

An Ohio judge removed a 17-year-old gender-confused girl from her parents' custody this month and awarded her to the her grandparents in order to enable her to undergo hormone therapy to identify as a boy. Perhaps even more importantly, she seemed to sympathize with the parents while utterly denying any suggestion that transgender identity may be unhealthy.

In 2016, the unnamed girl was hospitalized and diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, and gender dysphoria, defined by the American Psychiatric Association as "a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify."

Doctors had the state take the girl from her parents' custody, claiming the parents' treatment of the girl as a girl triggered suicidal feelings. The parents also did not give their consent for the girl to take cross-sex hormones to transition her body to match that of a male.

In November 2016, the daughter contacted a crisis chat service, alleging that her father told her to kill herself since she "was going to hell anyway." She said her parents sought "Christian" therapy, which was not even therapy. Karen Brinkman, the parents' lawyer, denied these allegations.

Brinkman added that the parents' objection to transgender hormone treatment comes from medical study as well as religious belief. The parents "have done their due diligence contacting medical professionals, collecting thousands of hours of research and relying on ... their observation of their own child ... that led them to the conclusion that this is not in their child's best interest."

The parents disagreed with the doctors' assessment that the hormones are a "medically necessary form of treatment," suggesting that the transgender hormones "would do more harm than good."

The daughter's lawyer, Thomas Mellott, testified that the parents enrolled her in a Catholic school that made her wear dresses and answer to her birth name. These experiences "caused additional trauma and anxiety," he argued. "When you lack all hope, and when he thought this would all continue to happen to him, the suicidal ideation became more pronounced, and that is how he ended up where he was," in the hospital.

Juvenile Court Judge Sylvia Herndon sided with the grandparents, giving them custody of the daughter and opening the way for her to receive cross-sex hormones, Cincinnati.com reported.

Herndon did seem to give the parents a concession, however. She said it was understandable the parents "were legitimately surprised and confused when the child's anxiety and depression symptoms became the basis for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria." She said the case should not have needed to be resolved in the courts.

“The family would have been best served if this could have been settled within the family after all parties had ample exposure to the reality of the fact that the child truly may be gender nonconforming and has a legitimate right to pursue life with a different gender identity than the one assigned at birth," Herndon said (emphasis added).