An Ohio couple has temporarily lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter after refusing her transgender hormones prescribed by doctors who claim she suffers from gender dysphoria and will commit suicide without the drugs. A judge is expected to rule on her long-term custody Friday.
In 2016, the unnamed girl was hospitalized and diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, and gender dysphoria, which the American Psychiatric Association defines as “a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.” Doctors claim that the parents’ treating the girl as a girl has triggered suicidal feelings.
Temporary custody has been granted to Hamilton County Job and Family Services, which has placed the girl with her maternal grandparents, who support the transgender identity. The medical team from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center testified that the girl is improving because her grandparents are treating her like a boy. They argued that she should immediately start treatment to decrease the risk of suicide, however.
“We think the grandparents are the ones who have an open mind and will … make this sort of decision best for the child,” Paul Hunt, an attorney for Hamilton County Job and Family Services, testified, according to court records obtained by CNN. “The parents have clearly indicated that they’re not open to it,” i.e. giving their daughter transgender hormones.
Karen Brinkman, the parents’ attorney, argued that the parents love their daughter and would even allow her to live with the grandparents “because they believe that the current living arrangement is in [her] best interest.”
Regarding transgender hormones, Brinkman argued that “it does not appear that this child is even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time.”
“If the maternal grandparents were to be given custody, it would simply be a way for the child to circumvent the necessity of parents’ consent,” Brinkman explained. “[The] Parents believe custody of the child should be restored to them, so they can make the medical decisions they believe are in their child’s best interest until [the child] turns 18 years of age.”
Hamilton County prosecutor Donald Clancy argued that the parents are basing their decision on religious beliefs, not the best interest of the child. The “father testified that any kind of transition at all would go against his core beliefs and allowing the child to transition would be akin to him taking his heart out of his chest and placing it on the table,” Clancy argued.
Clancy admitted that the father “fully accepts” his child, but noted that the father also testified that having the girl come home acting like a boy would “warp” her siblings’ perception of reality.
In November 2016, the daughter contacted a crisis chat service, reporting that she felt unsafe. She alleged that her father told her to kill herself, because she “was going to hell anyway.” The daughter also claimed that her parents stopped her mental health counseling and sought “Christian” therapy instead. Rather than receiving therapy, the daughter claimed she was forced to listen to Bible readings for six hours straight.
Brinkman denied these allegations. She testified 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.
Even seeing her birth name on documents causes the girl trauma, Jeffrey Cutcher, the grandparents’ lawyer, testified. Mellot agreed. “The name has become a very big trigger,” the girl’s lawyer said. “It has gotten to the point where my client mentioned that he doesn’t want to think about college at this point because the marketing materials he’s getting keep using the birth name.”
Cutcher argued for a quick transfer of custody to the grandparents, so as to prevent the girl from committing suicide. “What we want to do in the coming months around May is plan for a high school graduation, throughout the summer and fall, plan for an entrance into college. We don’t want to be planning for a funeral,” the grandparents’ lawyer declared.
Transgender advocates have compared the hormones to life-saving treatment, arguing that if the girl does not receive them, she will commit suicide.
“There is really strong data that says supporting an authentic child decreases further health risks,” Michelle Forcier, a pediatrician who works with transgender patients — some as young as 4 years old — told CNN. “If your child had asthma and was turning blue, you wouldn’t deny them their albuterol inhaler or say ‘let’s wait.’ 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.”
Not all pediatricians agree. In 2016, the American College of Pediatricians denounced transgender ideology as applied to children, calling it “child abuse.”
Women who once identified as men and had irreversible surgeries to force their bodies to conform to their identities have later realized their mistakes, warning others against such drastic actions. Black actress and singer Montreea Bailey spoke with PJ Media about her painful experience living as a man, and how the gospel of Jesus Christ brought her back from a false identity.
Tragically, a British university rejected a proposal to study former transgender people, on the grounds that such an effort would be “politically incorrect.”
Gender dysphoria is likely a real phenomenon, but so is DNA. Those who were born male have two sex chromosomes — X and Y. Those who were born female have X and X. No amount of hormones or surgery can alter the DNA in each individual cell. Even Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, who had surgery to remove his penis, still has masculine hands.
Transgenderism may be a useful fiction that prevents a few disturbed individuals from committing suicide, but that does not mean that hormones and surgery should be considered necessary health care.
The doctors’ and grandparents’ arguments that only transgender hormones can save the life of this poor girl are dehumanizing — they remove her agency as a human being. This girl can make the decision not to commit suicide. Unlike death from cancer, suicide is not a physical condition. The girl’s depression may drive her in that direction, but she has the ability to say no.
Furthermore, how do these doctors and grandparents know the girl will not regret her decision to “transition” into a man later in life? There is reason to suggest this is possible, and it might be wise to restrain her until she reaches the age of 18 and can make a decision herself.
If the father did actually tell his daughter to commit suicide, that would be a heinous act and a strong argument for a change of custody. It seems, however, that this is impossible to prove.
If the judge rules on Friday to transfer custody to the parents, that would bode extremely ill for parental rights, religious freedom, and sanity when it comes to issues of sexuality.
Conservatives have long been mocked for fearing that this kind of thing might happen. Now the day has arrived. Welcome to the brave new LGBT world.