Ruling opens possibility trans teen will get hormone therapy
Feb. 17, 2018
CINCINNATI (AP) — A transgender Ohio teen's grandparents have been granted custody and will be allowed to decide whether the 17-year-old can pursue hormone therapy at a hospital after he's evaluated by a psychologist not affiliated with the hospital, a judge in Cincinnati ruled Friday.
Judge Sylvia Hendon's ruling appears to have ended a legal battle that pitted the teen and his maternal grandparents against his parents, who denied he was transgender and sought Christian-based therapy for him. The teen, with his grandparents' support, wants treatment at the transgender program run by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Hendon's ruling also gives the grandparents the right to allow him to change his name.
The four-page decision notes that the teen's parents agree he should continue living with his grandparents and attending high school, where he excels academically and musically.
"Parents are granted reasonable visitation and encouraged to work toward a reintegration of the child into the extended family," Hendon wrote.
The judge also called on the state Legislature to consider enacting laws that provide a "framework" for juvenile courts in Ohio to evaluate a minor's "right to consent to gender therapy."
The Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services first sought custody of the teen in early 2017 after he emailed a crisis hotline and said one of his parents had told him to kill himself and that he could only receive Christian-based therapy, a complaint filed by the agency in Juvenile Court said. Within a few days of the complaint being filed, the parents agreed he should continue living with his grandparents and receiving therapy at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
The teen told authorities his parents once forced him to sit in a room and listen to Bible scriptures for six hours and refused to allow him to adopt a male appearance, the county said. His parents denied the allegations.
A therapist told the teen's father in October 2016 that the teen lacks "the coping skills to manage the home situation," prompting his mother to send an email saying that she and her husband would seek a Christian therapist, the county said.
The parents halted his therapy at Cincinnati Children's in late 2016 but allowed it to resume because of the teen's anxiety and depression.
This story has been corrected to show that the teen hasn't received hormone therapy yet and, according to a judge's ruling, can pursue treatment at a hospital transgender program only after he's evaluated by a psychologist not affiliated with the hospital.