Child custody fight centers on teen's identity as transgender

One state is facing an unusual custody battle in which the wishes of a teenage child are at odds with those of the parents. The child custody matter centers on the teen's diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Born a female, the 17-year-old now identifies as a boy. That identity is at odds with the parents' opinions about their child's gender. Some Florida families are facing similar struggles. 

The teen experienced a hospitalization in 2016, at which time professional diagnoses of gender dysphoria, depression and an anxiety disorder were reached. The teen's medical team suggests that hormone therapy be started as soon as possible to reduce the risk of suicide. The assertion was made that denying the teen the right to live as a male may have brought on thoughts of suicide.

The teen's parents, on the other hand, point to their child's mental state as evidence that the teen lacks the mental capacity to make such important and essentially life-altering decisions at this time. The child is currently living with grandparents. They are supportive of treatment to support the teen's gender identity.  

The grandparents are asking for legal custody, and hope to provide the treatment and therapy that the child needs to handle gender identity issues. The parents want to retain the right to make legal decisions for their child and feel strongly that hormone therapy is not the right course of action. The court has expressed the difficulty that these types of child custody cases pose and is expected to issue a ruling in the coming days. For Florida parents of transgender teens, the outcome could be of interest. 

Source:, "Ohio Parents Seek Custody to Stop Transgender Teen From Having Hormone Treatment", Feb. 13, 2018

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