A Cincinnati transgender teen has won the right to gender-affirming care, over the objections of his parents. The heartrending decision by Judge Sylvia Hendon places the youth in the custody of his maternal grandparents.
According to records released by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, the 17-year-old, whose identity has been kept private, had a diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
According to reports, the teen’s parents wanted him to see a Christian therapist and forced him to listen to Bible verses for hours on end.
“The parent’s acknowledged that the child expressed suicidal intent if forced to return to their home,” Hendon’s ruling states.
The Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services took temporary custody of the teen and placed him with his maternal grandparents. All parties agreed the youth should remain with the grandparents, records show, but the issue of gender transition was another matter.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital wanted to treat the teen’s gender dysphoria with hormone therapy.
“Parents objected to the plan, and several hearings were held,” records state.
Hendon’s decision grants the teen’s grandparents permanent custody as well as the authority to consent to his name change and transgender medical care. They first must have the teen evaluated by a physcologist not affiliated with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
The child’s parents were also granted visitation rights.
Attorneys for the teen argued that the case was especially urgent as the youth’s life hung in the balance.
In December 2014, another transgender teen in Ohio, Leelah Alcorn, committed suicide after her parents reportedly did not support her.
Living with Change, a Cincinnati-based organization that advocates for transgender youth, praised the decision in a statement on Twitter.
“Living with Change is grateful for Judge Hendon’s decision to put the safety & medical care of the child first,” the organization says. “Forty-one percent of transgender youth attempt suicide in their lifetime, making access to medically necessary care an incredibly important part of living a healthy and complete life.”
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