An Ohio court is set to determine Friday if the parents of a teen girl, who identifies as a boy, should lose custody because they object to hormone treatments and a "gender transition" process on medical and religious grounds.
CNN reported Tuesday on a Hamilton County court's ongoing proceedings involving the parents of a 17-year-old girl — neither of which can be named per court instructions — who want the court to intervene in order to stop her from receiving hormones and therapy. The treatment was recommended by a "medical team" working with the teen and who considers such treatment a "life-or-death situation."
The unnamed teenager, who is currently in temporary legal custody of Hamilton County Job and Family Services and living with her maternal grandparents, was reportedly hospitalized in 2016 and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, depression, and an anxiety disorder. The teen's court-appointed guardians think the grandparents should be given custody.
The parents, however, want custody of their child because they believe that by allowing the grandparents to have custody "it would simply be a way for the child to circumvent the necessity of parents' consent," said Karen Brinkman, their attorney, according to court transcripts. Brinkman contended that given the mental state of the teenager, she is in no position to make such a life-altering decision.
The parents, she continued, "have done their due diligence contacting medical professionals, collecting thousands of hours of research," and believe that the administration of hormones are not a "medically necessary form of treatment" and that it "would do more harm than good."
Not all of the details surrounding the case have been made public.
"If the judge rules in favor of the ideologically driven gender clinic, the ability of all parents to protect their children of any age from all aspects of this social and medical experiment will take a tremendous hit," said Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians in an interview with The Christian Post Wednesday.
The CNN report presumes the maleness of the girl and employs the pronoun "he" throughout the entirety of the piece. Medical experts from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, which has been working with the teenager, testified in court that the father's refusal to call the child by her chosen name and the parents' rejection of his daughter's gender identity have caused her to have suicidal feelings. CNN also featured the words of Dr. Michelle Forcier for supporting commentary, who is a professor at Brown University and longtime LGBT activist pediatrician who works with children as young as four who think they are transgender, though she is not involved in this specific case.
"If your child had asthma and was turning blue, you wouldn't deny them their albuterol inhaler or say 'let's wait,' " Forcier said. "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."
Cretella made a point to tell CP that Forcier's remarks are "unscientific."
"A child suffering from gender dysphoria has a fixed belief contrary to physical reality. This is a delusion," she said, and "a delusion is not any person's 'authentic self.'"
She noted that such a delusion is a disorder of the mind; that gender dysphoria is distinctly unlike a disease of the body like diabetes, asthma, or cancer; and that no long term evidence exists showing that encouraging a child's delusion prevents suicide.
Furthermore, she stressed, "there is no evidence that any gender dysphoric child's suicidality is due to parents' refusing to go along with the delusion. It is more likely that whatever has caused the child's depression and suicidal thoughts is also triggering the gender dysphoria."
"Since there are no long term studies regarding the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in young children and teens, this entire enterprise is, by definition, an experiment upon a minor — and a dangerous one at that given the life-long permanent side effects."
In November of 2016 the teen contacted a crisis chat service to say she did not feel safe in her parents' home and alleged that her father told her to commit suicide because she was "going to hell anyway." Her lawyer said in court that her parents' decision to enroll her in Catholic school where she had to wear dresses and go by her birth name contributed to her trauma and increased suicidal ideation.
The teen also said she was forced to sit in a room and listen to Bible readings for over six hours at a time, according to the complaint; the parents had reportedly stopped the mental health counseling she was receiving and opted for a Christian alternative.
Peter Sprigg, senior research fellow at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., commented in an email to The Christian Post Wednesday that refusing to support gender transition for a minor child should never be grounds for removing that child from a parent's custody and represents a "shocking invasion of fundamental parental rights to direct the upbringing of their children."
"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," he said.
That the religious views of the parents are being referenced as a further reason why custody should be removed is alarming, he went on to say, noting that this case portends threats to religious freedom in addition to parental rights.
"In recent years, the free exercise of religion outside the walls of a home or church has been repeatedly threatened; but in this case, even such freedom within the home is at risk."