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).
This statement — meant as a concession to the parents — fundamentally rejected the grounds for the parents’ original disagreement. The judge patronizingly explained that if the parents could only understand the situation, their concerns about transgender hormones being harmful to their daughter would become a non-issue.
The parents do not accept the transgender ideology, which suggests that a person’s true nature is connected to their gender identity, rather than their biological sex. No one disputes that the girl was born with two X chromosomes and is therefore a girl. It does not even seem that the parents dispute that the girl suffers with gender dysphoria and identifies as a boy.
The dispute revolves around two issues: is the gender identity more real than her biological sex, and should it be encouraged at the risk of long-term harm?
While many in the transgender movement like to suppress this fact, many who identified with a gender opposite their birth sex have later regretted it. Cross-sex hormones and transgender surgery have left these people scarred.
“I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that’s my reality,” Cari Stella, a YouTube artist who once identified as transgender, painfully admitted in a deeply personal video.
Max Robinson, a 21-year-old woman who once identified as a man, lives with the reality of having taken male hormones and removing her breasts. She said, “It’s not a cure at all.”
The science of gender identity is still in its infancy, but studies have shown that the majority of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria — between 73 percent and 88 percent — will not grow up to be transgender adults. These findings are disputed, but they make sense, given the changing attitudes of children.
There are a few different kinds of cross-sex hormones. Pre-pubescent children can take puberty blockers, which pause the natural development of adolescent sex characteristics. Even these blockers may have longterm effects on brain development, and possible side-effects include abnormal bone growth.
Cross-sex hormones of the type this unnamed 17-year-old girl will take carry more problems. While longterm medical and psychological effects remain unknown, estrogen in biological males brings a clinically significant risk of deep-vein thrombosis and testosterone in biological females increases the chance of developing ovarian cysts later in life.
Some of the hormone effects are irreversible. Testosterone in biological females will cause irreversible deepening of the voice and augmentation of the clitoris, while estrogen in biological males will cause irreversible enlargement of breasts.
Given this context, it is underhanded in the extreme for Judge Herndon to say that the parents would have eventually come around toward encouraging their daughter’s transgender identity and her decision to take cross-sex hormones. It is also extremely arguable whether or not a child (beneath the age of 18) has a “legitimate right” to cause irreversible harm to himself or herself based on an identity he or she may outgrow.
A school in Britain recently shot down an application to study people who were formerly transgender, but no matter how politically incorrect, these people do exist.
The science on transgenderism is not settled, and there are good reasons to question whether or not encouraging transgender identity is healthy. Judge Herndon’s conclusion that this girls’ parents would have decided to affirm her identity is misguided and frankly insulting. The doctors in the case also insulted the girl herself by suggesting she would be unable to keep herself from committing suicide if she were denied hormones.
This girl’s struggle is real and her condition lamentable, but that does not mean a judge should remove her from the custody of her parents over a philosophical disagreement about transgenderism. It sets the horrible precedent that parents will lose their authority over their children if they refuse to accept their transgender identity, and that there could be no legitimate disagreement on the issue.
That is simply false.