On Friday, an Ohio couple lost a lengthy and heart-wrenching legal battle with their daughter. When the parents refused to allow their female daughter to undergo hormone replacement therapy so she could transition to being male, the teenager took the parents to court. Because the teen’s parents refused to allow her to undergo the gender transition, she sought support elsewhere.
Her maternal grandparents offered that support and then a custody battle started.
But on Friday Hamilton County Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon ruled in favor of the teen granting custody of the 17-year-old to the teen’s maternal grandparents. Due to the nature of the court proceeding, names have not been released at this time.
Besides the landmark ruling, the judge also tasked Ohio lawmakers to make more transgender friendly laws that grant minors more rights in gender transition situations.
“The Legislature should consider a set of standards by which the Court is able to judge and act upon that minor’s request based upon the child’s maturity,” Hendon wrote in the decision.
That type of legislation would give a voice and a pathway to youth similarity situated as JNS (the teen) without attributing fault to the parents and involving them in protracted legislation which can and does destroy the family unit.”
Because the teen’s parents opposed her proposal to become male through treatments, she left her parents and moved in with her more support maternal grandparents. The move came after the teen was hospitalized for anxiety and depression following suffering that stemmed from her parents’ disapproval.
At that hospital stay, the teen was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, along with anxiety and depression.
In the hospital, the teen revealed how the mistreatment she received from her parents caused her to feel suicidal.
Because the parents’ disapproval of the gender transition caused the teen to contemplated suicide, the Ohio judge urges courts to intervene and advocate for hormone replacement treatment in life-and-death situations.
“It is sad commentary that the Juvenile Court system deals with the suicidal ideation of trouble adolescents on a regular basis but cannot let that threat govern the outcome or disposition of a case before it,” the judge wrote.
While the threat of suicide was important, the judge did not let that solely influence her decision. Instead, she focused on what she judged to be “in the best interests of this child for the few remaining months of minority.”
Although the judge stripped legal custody from the parents, she expressed regret for needing to do so. And in the decision, she wrote:
“In this case, it is understandable that the parents were legitimately surprised and confused when the child’s anxiety and depression became the basis for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The child had lived until summer of 2016 consistent with the assigned gender at birth. The parents sought appropriate mental health treatment when their child’s generalized anxiety and depression reached the point that hospitalization became necessary. The parents acknowledge that the child expressed suicidal intent if forced to return to their home.”
In the end, the judge ruled that any child in Ohio “has a legitimate right to pursue life with a different gender identity than the one assigned at birth.”