Metro Weekly

Ohio parents seek court order to stop transgender son’s transition

Teen's medical providers say transition-related care and affirming therapy are needed to treat his suicidal ideation

Photo: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Parents of a transgender teenage boy have asked an Ohio family court to stop their child from receiving hormone therapy, reports CNN.

The 17-year-old boy, whose name has been kept anonymous, took his parents to court in order to be able to receive treatment for gender dysphoria at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The teen suffers from anxiety and depression related to his gender dysphoria, and began experiencing suicidal ideation after his parents refused to acknowledge his gender identity.

The boy has been living with his maternal grandparents while the court battle rages on. But the teens’ parents have asked that the child continue living with his grandparents, even if the court decides that the parents are the ones who should make choices about whether the teen pursues his transition.

Karen Brinkman, an attorney representing the parents, says that it is in the teen’s best interest to continue living with his grandparents, though the parents are best suited to retain custody and make medical decisions for their child.

Brinkman maintains that the teen’s current mental state hinders him from making an informed decision about his health care.

“It does not appear that this child is even close to being able to make such a life-altering decision at this time,” she said.

The grandparents have previously told the court that they are willing to allow their grandchild to receive treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy, if it is deemed medically necessary.

In 2016, the teen was hospitalized and treated for gender dysphoria. But his parents put a stop to the therapy, citing religious objections and a desire to seek out a Christian therapist to help their child deal with his feelings.

In November 2016, the teen told a local crisis hotline that his father had told him to kill himself. The teen also claims that his parents made him sit in a room and listen to Bible scripture for over six hours in an effort to purge him of his feelings of gender dysphoria. A month later, the teen claims he tried to read a letter to his parents explaining his feelings, but his mother screamed at him and called him a liar. Eventually, the parents relented and allowed him to resume counseling-type therapy to deal with his suicidal ideation.

The boys’ medical providers at Cincinnati Children’s say that the boy has improved mentally and emotionally from his therapy, and that the grandparents have created a supportive environment. But the medical team believes that starting hormone therapy and other treatments will help the teen transition more smoothly.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com